Barry & Holly Tashian

At Home

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Barry Tashian and Holly Tashian look as happy on the front cover of At Home as they sound on this vibrant folk/country album from the veteran couple. The six-page CD insert has notations on each of the 12 selections as well as an interesting essay on how the music was "recorded live with no 'fixes in the mixes.'" The album's simple quality makes it very appealing, from Felice Bryant's "We Could," which opens the disc like a girl-and-guy version of the Everly Brothers, to a very interesting "A Man's Best Friend Is His Automobile." This is Barry giving the world a preview of a song also recorded for the Remains' reunion album, scheduled for later in 2002. Holly only co-writes two of the five originals with her husband, who has a different collaborator on each of his compositions. Holly Tashian calls their "These Little Things" the first shuffle they've written, though the couple has played them for years. Her "One More Me (The Cloning Song)" is an interesting take on "Dolly the cloned sheep," about a housewife who could use some extra help around the house. And who better but a carbon copy of herself? Imagine the possibilities -- this duo could duplicate themselves and be a country/folk version of the Mamas & the Papas. Barry Tashian draws from three different arrangements of two traditional tunes, and he blends "Whiskey Before Breakfast"/"Beaumont Rag" together, the CD's only instrumentals, both tunes "around for at least a century." Buck Owens' "There Goes My Love" has that Everly Brothers feel again, with the couple's great harmonies and smooth playing. Merle Kilgore's "More and More" follows suit, another poppy blues song, as is Barry's "The Sound of Your Name." They cover Connie Francis' "My Happiness," a song from 1933 which charted for half a dozen artists over the years, and the performance is indicative of the album as a whole -- warm and enjoyable. Holly sings a version of "My Window Faces the South," which she's performed for 25 years but not recorded until now. "Watermelon Time in Georgia" closes the disc, and Barry's comments under the song are historically vital. When the guitarist was performing with Emmylou Harris in the '80s, Merle Haggard sang to them for about two hours at an Indianapolis Holiday Inn. That's how this Harlan Howard song made it to this CD. At Home is a wonderful document of two important artists being themselves and putting their storytelling on record in a very comfortable setting.

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