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Stephen McCarthy and Carla Olson (from the album Night Comes Calling as a self-release) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Night Comes Calling brings together two forebears of the L.A. Paisley Underground/Roots Rock revival scene of the late '70s and early '80s. Stephen McCarthy, one-time helmsman of The Long Ryders and several of its successors, and Carla Olson, famously known as the singer of the Textones and her partnership with ex Byrd Gene Clark, make a naturally compatible musical couple, given that their roots so obviously intertwine.
That being the case, Night Comes Calling sounds like it was spawned from some shared archives, hewing mostly to a sound that brings that alt-country rock regimen solidly to the fore. That's especially evident in the rousing, rambunctious rocker “We Gotta Split This Town,” the album’s opening tack and the sturdy honkytonk of “Brink of the Blues,” courtesy of the sway of its pedal steel guitar.
Yet while certain songs — “Just to Get to You” and “One That Got Away”, the latter a cowrite by Chris Hillman and Pete Knobler — maintain that upbeat approach, most of thematic opt for more emotional engagement. It seems inevitable that the pair would reprise Gene Clark’s “I Remember the Railroad,” a track lifted from the recently released various artists compilation Americana Railroad, which Olson herself helped oversee, and as such, its tender tones make for a fitting finale. The heartfelt title track, a reflective and reassuring “Broken Lullaby”, the Beau Brummels’ countrified classic classic “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, and the calming caress shared by “Long Way Back to the Seventies” keep the mellow mood intact.
It’s hardly surprising then that the pair reflect their roots and ensure they remain intact, even while maintaining their own prominent profile. It’s retro to a degree but one shouldn’t be surprised. Given the legacy they share, it’s clearly a credible calling. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Stephen McCarthy and Carla Olson from AMAZON
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