The Greencards

Weather and Water

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    7
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The Greencards' second album, Weather and Water, proves that the group's fine debut album was no fluke -- if anything, this trio of Australian and British expatriates who've settled in Austin, TX, sounds even stronger and more engaging on their second trip into the recording studio. While Carol Young's clear, expressive lead vocals often steal the show on this disc (and not without reason, given how lovely she sounds on "Time" and the title cut), the tight and flavorful ensemble playing by Young (bass) and her bandmates, Kym Warner (mandolin, bouzouki) and Eamon McLoughlin (fiddle) is what impresses most on second and third listens. With remarkably little help from session players, the Greencards make their humble trio sound full and strikingly dynamic, and Warner and McLoughlin show off some remarkable chops without descending into flash for its own sake. (They also sing quite well, both in harmonies with Young and when they step to the fore for lead vocals.) All three Greencards write, and their originals are fine stuff, with fresh, clear melodies and lyrics that stand up to repeated listening. And these recordings achieve a rich sound without sounding cluttered, drawing from American bluegrass and British and Celtic folk traditions to create a style that is honestly their own. The Greencards are one of the most promising acts on the acoustic music scene, and Weather and Water gives them a first-class showcase for their estimable talents.

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