Misty River,
(self-produced, 2000)

"Where folk, country and bluegrass converge into Americana" is printed on the back of Misty River's CD jacket. Throw in a lot of Celtic and little bit of zydeco, and you've got a pretty close description.

Without a doubt, Rising is a variety pack of original and traditional music featuring a female quartet and a variety of instruments. I'm not kidding -- this album has so many different types of songs that you might have to check the CD to make sure it's all the same band. They don't seem to follow any formula as the ladies take turns on lead vocals and lead guitars (and sometimes the lead guitarist is a guest artist). If you want to keep up with who's doing what in each song, you might need a flowchart. My advice is to sit back, listen and don't try to predict what's coming next.

This singing/performing troupe consists of Carol Harley (nice textured alto voice, guitar, clawhammer banjo), Laura Quigley (sweet soprano sound, bass), Dana Abel (fantastic accordion, vocals) and Chris Kokesh (moody fiddle, guitar, vocals). This quartet does a good job of evening out their musical skills -- there are no standouts in the group as much as a nice blend of their talents.

With a few exceptions, their original music highlights their skills better than the traditional tunes. "Only Love" is a pleasant vocal harmony, simultaneously soothing and haunting. "This American Dream" has a moody fiddle guiding the vocals -- if it's this nice on a recording, the live version must be outstanding. On the traditional side, they have a great rendition of "Little Sadie" that provides a mix of Carol's great alto voice and Dana's accordion (showing that little bit of zydeco influence).

If you like different types of music rolled into one, Rising is a good selection. There's a little bit of everything in this musical assortment that's sure to please nearly anyone. No worries, though, this variety pack of musical candy is sure to have the green lifesavers picked out.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 8 February 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.