Dean Station

Raising the Root

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On their second album, Dean Station, the "original duet" (as their business card puts it) consisting of Levi and Amanda Dean (plus Doug Deforest on bass and Charlie O'Neal on percussion), proves to be one of those partnerships based more on contrast than similarity. Levi Dean has a sonorous tenor-baritone, his vocals coming out with nasal sonority and slippery, sometimes slurred phrasing. Amanda Dean has a more direct, plaintive voice she uses for rough harmony with her husband, though she sounds more freed up when she's singing solo lead, as she does on "Go Ahead" and "Mid January." Opposites attract, however, and Dean Station's rough country-folk sound, with its thrown-together feel, the mandolin peeking out from the guitar strums, and the rhythm section shuffling along, has a rough energy, particularly on the closing track, "May Day in Court," in which the Deans use the differences in their vocal styles to good effect in portraying a musical cross-examination between prosecuting attorney and defense witness in an entertaining trial in song.

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