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Breanne Marie & The Front Porch Sinners

Juniper

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing, and often effective set. It's a bit uneven, though. The music here generally lands at various ends of a spectrum that runs between folk music and country, but there are some points where it stretches beyond that. I'm not completely sold on the vocals, but the musical arrangement works from start to finish. I would say that the opening and closing tracks are the two tunes that almost seem not to fit with the rest. The opener has a real energized bluegrass sound, and the final number brings things into almost psychedelic zones. What comes between those songs leans heavily on the mellower side. All in all, this is a set that has some real charms and magic.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Central Hillside ‘91
A serious hoe-down, rockabilly styled jam brings this number into being. It drops to a little less energized arrangement for the entrance of the vocals, but it works back upward again. This is a dramatic and driving tune that makes a good opener.
Hard Time
A mellower number, this is perhaps more of a folk song than it is a country or bluegrass one. It's slower and almost dirge-like in its tempo. It has plenty of passion and power, though. It also has some hints of country music, but they probably land closer to the gospel end of the equation.
Between You and Me
We're in balladic zones on this tune, too. I can make out some hints of old-school rock and roll in the arrangement here. Overall, though, this is another that leans on the folk side more than anything else.
Turning Stones
There is more country music in the mix here. This song is another that's more balladic, but it gets powered up at times. There are parts that reach toward a classical turned jazz approach. I love the violin (or maybe I should say "fiddle") on this tune.
Love is a Song
This cut has some particularly pretty instrumental passages. It's another ballad-like piece. It seems to walk the fence between country and folk music. It's one of the highlights of the set. There is a lot of magic and charm built into this tune.
Too Tired to Cry
Beginning more rhythmically than melodic, the vocals come in over the top of that arrangement. The cut moves outward from there with a bit more energy than we've heard on some of the recent songs. This is another that lands somewhere between folk and country zones, but it leans more along the folk end of that spectrum.
Dead Man Walking
Old rock and roll meets spaghetti Western sounds on the opening of this tune. It works out to energetic country based sounds from there. There is a more rocking edge to this number than there is on some of the rest of the music here.
Good Bones
I dig the intricate picked guitar that brings this into being. Gentle vocals come over the top, bringing a ballad approach to the proceedings. The violin brings a special charm to the tune. While this gets a bit more energy, it's still really a ballad at its core.
Juniper
The title track ends the disc. It comes in a bit echoey and almost psychedelic, yet it's one of the mellowest passages of the disc. There are hints of country music here, but it wouldn't be a big stretch to hear Jefferson Airplane doing the musical arrangement of the first part of this tune. The number grows out to more of a 70s soft rock sound at times. This song is classy, but I think it's perhaps a bit too low-key to make a strong closer.
 
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