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The Greencards - Fascination
By: Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist
5/13/09

I have loved the Greencards for quite awhile, I have reviewed Weather and Water, a tone laden new grass CD with lots of good songs. Then there was Viridian, their last disc with Dualtone Records. I had always sort of compared the Greencards to the Duhks and the Duhks latest CD was a disappointment to me, lots of odd melodies even some stuff with strings and orchestra.

The Greencards latest CD titled Fascination, has taken a turn from their new grass beginnings, and as one newspaper has called it; "enchanting, fascinating." The recording style is remarkably different, not having Bryan Sutton and Pat Flynn on guitar to me is a big change in sound. Especially Sutton, he seemed to work so well with them, as a three point group, they really cannot do everything they do without some help. They now have Jedd Hughes on guitars bass and vocals, Giles Reaves on percussion and autoharp and producer Jay Joyce on bass. Jay Joyce was the well credentialed producer they had picked for this project, that was planned to be different. Lead Singer Carol Young said that this CD took 8-9 months to plan, write and record where as the other Discs had only taken a couple of weeks head start. This is a very complex recording, the use of guitar is very sparse, used for single line statements, not rhythm.

"Rivertown" is one song that sounds a bit familiar, just listening to a live version "All the Way From Italy" from Veridian. It sounds great live. "Movin On" Live From The Ark, sounds great. This is a great live group. One thing about this recording is that it has almost a surround sound type sound, especially when you put on headphones. Tonally it is great, mastered by Doug Sax, one of my favorites. Wow, the guitarist with them at the Ark, Andy Falco, is awesome, he just took a long break.

Kym Warner, multi stringed instrument player is from Austalia. So, Eeamon Mcloughlin is the renegade from England, on fiddle. "We went into the studio on fascination from day one that this wasn't The Greencards two years ago - this is us moving forward," Warner insists. I just noticed, one of the greatest acoustic recording engineers of all time in Nashville , Gary Paczosa, is not involved in recording, production , or mixing, He is now into A & R Direction. So now, Gary is working with finding new artists for Sugar Hill, (Bummer), I hope that he does well, it is an obvious up move, but he had a signature style of recording music, I have reviewed many a disc with Gary at the controls.

OK, what is the deal with "Fascination", it sure does not sound like your mothers Greencards. If you are a diehard fan, you will probably find a way to like it. I have listened to this CD every way possible, and do appreciate the sonic quality, a bit too much reverb and delay to make up for empty space in the sparseness of it all, and like The Duhks, you have to let a group grow. I did not review The Duhks latest, it was just too weird. This is weird and different, but I probably will not listen to it again, even though it is a well done record. Life is too short to listen to music that you do not like, but at the same time, I spent lots of time with this, because I love this group and it is only quarter of their repertoire.

 


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