“Are You Listening?”

Billy Brandt & Sarana VerLin‘s latest winter air crispy clear, yet full of souls clouded w/truth shrouded … night-time-of-your-life record, “Are You Listening?” leaves a strong song-seeking soul no choice but to say …. I will follow. While both easily swinging high and hard, the mad fling of “Ophelia” and ‘I shoulda done better’ reckoning, mando/guitar light/dark hooked “Judgement Day” begin the record … at our end brought low, in a way … whether found at will or at mercy of fate … for redemption, it might be too late. Then there are the many splendors and dead enders of love … “Everything’s Falling” is a painfully slow building, catchy look at romance dropped, once caught but now for naught … tryin’ to learn a lesson alone, feeling on the down low. “Can’t Let Go” … is a love-hate driven, fast flyin’, high harmonizin’ song, heart-hooked on a flawed feeling, but like Sarana’s sweet violin here … you hafta say yes to this one, not no. “No Such Thing as Goodbye” just tries to keep moving on, yet open to take everyone old, … and make them (and us) not fold, but new again. And we end being asked … “Are You Listening” … a wide open windy, world music folk fable, mini-symphonized and eco-chantized … taking the high note across the water, in search of our top shelves needing to hear life’s falls …to take us higher and higher. Of course, this tuneful treasure chest of old chunks of spent coal souls is richly rewarded by the record’s sharp diamond all-day, folkussed sound, hard cut instinctively easily by the elite Detroit Americana band, including John Holkeboer on steady bass, Chris Degnore leadin’ the guitar starworks and Todd Glass bringin’ the big beat. Hey these looks at the dark-edges-of-the-unsun shots into our selves ain’t for the faint of heart … but before you get it together, sometimes you gotta fall apart.

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