After leaving years in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn for the more remote surroundings of Woodstock in upstate New York, songwriters Anne Cunningham and David Lerner used their band Trummors as an outlet for reflection on the vast differences and disparities between bustling city life and living in the country. Over and Around the Clove is a stunning debut of lush and lonely indie folk sounds as well as a thoughtful meditation on being stuck between very different worlds. The album opens with "Cold on McGuiness Boulevard," a traditional and twangy honky tonk number that tells the story of wintry urban displacement and heartbreak in the big city. The strange dichotomy of this song's homespun sounds and updated themes is one that carries throughout the album. Rather than relying on nostalgic lyrical themes to match their traditional sounds, Trummors instead sing of more modern and sincere subject matter. Frustration and small-town boredom are investigated in the gorgeously melancholic alt-country of "Knoxville, TN," while "Ever Do I Wait" tackles dead friends and the struggles of youth. Spare instrumentation makes the individual elements of Over and Around the Clove stand out with unique clarity. The soaring harmonica and glistening Dobro plucks of "Odessa" and "It Won't Take Long" revel in a country blues mode not too far from the rootsy feel of Harvest-era Neil Young or Gillian Welch's sad-hearted folk sounds. Chris Zaloom augments the ghostly tambourine clacks and gentle acoustic guitar strums with tasteful pedal steel, and the occasional harmonium drone or lingering finger-style guitar run adds a slight undercurrent of pastoral '70s psychedelia to the album. The blazing pedal steel run and tight vocal harmonies of "Fields of Fire" lend a Flying Burrito Brothers sense of freewheeling wonder to the album. With Over and Around the Clove, Cunningham and Lerner have crafted a seemingly effortless album that deals in both straightforward, unassuming musical themes and deeper complexities hiding just below the surface. It's a brilliant debut, each song a different story with imagery so direct and relatable that the tunes become transportive, drawing the listener into the patient, insular, and painfully beautiful world Trummors have spun with their songs.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas