Canada's Tamarack has been recording wonderful music in various configurations for a dozen years. Perhaps this continual change, the adding of new blood and ideas, has helped the group to keep recording fresh albums like Spirit & Stone. The leading tracks, "Campfire Light" and "Steady On," flaunt everything that makes this group so good: great vocals, splendid instrumental work, and a nice choice of material. Molly Kurvink's voice carries an abundance of emotion, whether singing about lost love in "I Wish It Would Rain," or about an environmental concern in "Those Fatal Lights." Alex Sinclair utilizes his more traditionally flavored vocals to good effect on self-penned originals like "Oh, Donald" and "The Gradual Demise of All Things." Violin/mandolin/mandola player Shelley Coopersmith adds pleasant harmony to a number of tracks, and sings lead on "The Old Wood Stove" and "Water Run Over the Stone." It is this mixture of several good singers that allow for the beautiful intertwining of voices on songs like "Dans le Nord Canadien." Kurvink's bass playing and John Adames' percussion give this rich acoustic music a steady underpinning while Rick Fines and John Switzer add flourishes of slide and electric guitar here and there. All the material, whether original or drawn from Canadian songwriters like Ian Tamblyn, works together to make Spirit & Stone an organic whole. For those unfamiliar with Tamarack's brand of Canadian folk, this album is a good place to begin one's acquaintance.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.