West Michigan based country-folk songstress Daisy May Erlewine continues on a personalized path of singer/songwriters with this well-crafted and emotionally proscribed recording dedicated to her mother Margaret. As all maternal figures protect, unconditionally love, and inspire their daughters, Daisy May is enriched by her mom with a sense of spirit, warmth, wonder, and clear talent. A singer who sounds like a cross between a young Emmylou Harris and a bit of Billie Holiday, Daisy May also plays a well-honed rhythm guitar, piano, and on one cut, violin. Partner and guitarist/vocalist Seth Bernard is equally responsible, not only for the high level of musicianship, but for organizing the various sized ensembles, featuring the excellent bassist Dominic Suchyta and dobro player Drew Howard. The opener and title track "Mother Moon" is an after-midnight soul ballad with May playing appropriately respectful piano. At her most downhearted, Daisy May speaks of a commonplace lost first love during "Gone," initially speaking of "holding hands on a train," while a greeting to "Sorrow" is a song of regret and inquisition with May again on piano, and the tale of "The Shoreline" is a non-plussed recollection of a dancehall. A sighing lap steel guitar on "Carefully" warns of impetuous notions, helped by the equally superb singer Rachael Davis, and the languid instrumental "The Barn Swallow" is close to chamber country music with bowed bass from Suchyta, violin from May, and classical type cello played by Andrea Moreno-Beals. The down-home "Rise Up Singing" features a multi-voice choir with organ and piano on a tale of perseverance, a spirited Latin feel is burned into a midtempo two step "We Are" that is reminiscent of Holiday, "Barely There" is a steady rolling groove tune, and there's a hidden end track, unidentified but likely titled "Oh My " using a Brazilian jazz motif. Among the upbeat tunes is the light shuffle of "Fast" with its cowgirl attitude and the notion of "goin' back to what I'm used to," and the upbeat choogle of "Big Mama Brown" borders on the farcical story of what the fish feels upon being hooked -- or not. Bernard shines on the typical 3/4 beat of "The River Waltz," and sings beautifully in tandem with Daisy May. An exceptional CD of depth, substance, and feeling, it also reflects how well Daisy May was raised, has matured, and is emerging as a top-notch artist/musician.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos