Gypsy Soul

Beneath the Covers: A Rediscovery

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Over the course of seven albums released on its own Off the Beaten Track Records label, folk-pop duo Gypsy Soul has increasingly moved away from recording new original material, devoting two releases to holiday music (Sacred, Amazing Grace); recycling material on The Journey; and doing a live album (One Beautiful Night). In this pattern, a disc of cover songs is a next logical step, and here it is with Beneath the Covers: A Rediscovery. The choices made by singer Cilette Swann and multi-instrumentalist Roman Morykit are understandable. With the spiritual bent of some of Swann's lyrics, choices like U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" (the latter repeated from their album Superstition Highway) reflect sentiments that echo the singer's own. She has also shown a taste for examinations of romantic turmoil, and Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" is in that vein. The Beatles ("Blackbird") and John Denver ("Take Me Home, Country Roads") are obvious touchstones for any contemporary folk act, and Gypsy Soul manages to drain some of the pop sentimentality out of the Denver song. The more interesting selections are Daniel Lanois' relatively obscure "Still Water" (it was introduced on his album Acadie) and Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," which is completely overhauled in an arrangement that suggests what it might sound like in the hands of Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal. Swann and Morykit also cover themselves, resurrecting "Lovin' Me" from their debut album, Test of Time, in a simpler arrangement. And if they have taken to putting only a couple of new songs on their albums, they seem to be making a point of picking the best ones. "One Thing" and especially "Silver Lining," which closes the disc, are strong originals that suggest it may be time for a Gypsy Soul album of all-new material again.

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