August 3, 2009

Doors and Windows

Anchorage, AK
Produced by Garry West | Recorded and mixed at Compass Sound studio in
Nashville by Erick Jaskowiak | Mastered by Randy LeRoy at Final Stage
Mastering in Nashville

This album floored me with its instantly familiar sound, just as warm and sexy as their previous offering, Follow Me. The comparison to Alison Krauss is obvious. Like her music, the musicians in this band have perfect control of their voices and instruments, and like her timeless albums, this recording is enthralling throughout and contains no sour notes. Guitarist Mike Mickelson and bass player Kate Hamre dance around each other, never stepping on each others toes, and Jason Norris' mandolin paying adds another layer to the tapestry behind fiddler Odessa Jorgenson and her seductive vocals.

I do miss hearing Mickelson's voice, as it seems he has stepped back and now lets Jorgenson sing nearly all these songs. We do hear Hamre sing the lead on the humorous traditional "Single Girl," but having all the members of the band trade lead vocal duties would make them seem more like an ensemble than a rhythm section for Jorgensen. Though Annalisa Tornfelt is no longer a member of the group, they play two of her songs: "Caroline," a seemingly innocuous crush song that turns out to be about domestic abuse, and the live favorite, "Good in the Kitchen," a short and sweet tribute to the culinary arts with some double entendres. The recording is so intimate, you can almost hear the girls winking. (Compass Records)
-Isaac Paris

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