ASV, the musical (and marital) partnership of Scott Vestal and Alice Newman (here credited as Alice N. Vestal) combines a talented banjo player with a long list of band affiliations and recording sessions and an effective country singer, the protégée of Tracy Nelson, who is also a noted songwriter. Vestal's abilities as a picker dominate the musical tracks, providing country and bluegrass beds for Newman's singing, which doesn't so much suggest Nelson as it does Maria Muldaur or Emmylou Harris. The Vestals' own compositions, along with the covers they bring in, are full of happy romantic sentiments imbued with nature imagery that also evokes God frequently. The only somewhat reflective commentary is found in the album-closing "Beauty Will Save the World," in which Newman worries that "we" will become extinct before settling on the conclusion found in the title. Although the overall style is acoustic country, the duo also evokes an earlier partnering of string player and singer that had roots in pop and swing, Les Paul & Mary Ford.
Goin' to the Dance Review
by William Ruhlmann