Loveland Duren (from the album Any Such Thing on Edgewood Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
From the opening echoes of Loveland Duren’s new album, Any Such Thing, it’s apparent that this erstwhile duo’s third release is fueled by an infectious energy and reignited enthusiasm for both craft and commitment. That opening salvo, titled “Tumbledown Hearts“, sets the tone for all that follows while making it clear that this is, indeed, a set of songs that ring with special resilience. Recorded in the midst of the pandemic, prior to travels that took them across the globe from L.A. and London, to Australia and Tasmania, the pair’s third album elevates them to a higher plateau. It was recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis before they shifted locales to Royal Studios where the sessions were completed. Inspired by their travels, which were initially undertaken in support of a documentary, they were joined by a venerable group of guest musicians, among them legendary the Hi Rhythm Section’s keyboard player Charles Hodges, and an orchestral ensemble consisting of Brian Wilson sideman Probyn Gregory on French horn, cellist Jana Meisener and violinist Jessie Munson, a veteran of all three Lowland Duren albums.
The result is a varied set of songs given a sound that ranges from the soulful strains of “A Place of No Place” and “Ain’t It Pretty to Think So” to the elegiac “Funny Way of Showing It”, the more emphatic “Where Are We Going?”, and the solidly rocking “Bridges I Had To Burn”. Taken in tandem, it’s a superb display of solid song-craft shared with a zest that at times literally seems to soar. Vicki Loveland’s vocals are so distinctive and dynamic that one has to wonder why she has yet been recognized as the stellar presence that she’s clearly established herself to be.
Likewise, when the pair ends the set with the caressing ballad, “Ending Again”, it’s simply another means of ensuring an indelible impression.
‘Here we are
Maybe next time we’ll know better’.
Ostensibly written about an interminable relationship, it’s also a statement about perseverance, promises, and moving ahead. Clearly, these are lessons that have not only been well-learned, but also well-lived as well. (By Lee Zimmerman)
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