Barry & Holly Tashian

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On their seventh album, Barry & Holly Tashian offer a varied set of mostly original folk-country material, incorporating a lot of the idioms they've absorbed over the years including bluegrass, blues, and even a bit of gospel, ragtime, and swing. It's good-time music that doesn't cross the line to saccharine cheerfulness. Even the songs that allude to hard times and financial/environmental hardships (à la "Worry Doesn't Worry Me" and "Honey, Where's the Money Gone") are played, written, and sung with a happy-go-lucky humor and determination not to let things get them down. Indeed, a sunny-side-up, glass-half-full approach pervades the record, whether they're discussing romance or other topics, making for a refreshing change from the many acts of their ilk who sing about the state of things with a weary fatalism. There's not exactly any rock & roll here, but there are also upbeat party tunes of sorts with "Rockin' Little Country Girl" and "Rock It Like It's Saturday Night" that hit about as danceable a stride as country-folk tunes are likely to find. In a more serious mood, "Sail Away" has something of the spiritual dignity found in the high lonesome harmonizing sound of vintage bluegrass or early folk groups such as the Carter Family.

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