The Greencards, <em>Fascination</em>

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April 20, 2009

greencardsThe Greencards
Fascination
stars-312

The Greencards are a trio consisting of Australians Carol Young and Kym Warner along with U.K. native Eamon McLoughlin. Up-and-comers with talent to spare and an eclectic range of influences, they have earned spots opening for both Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. They were awarded an Austin Music Award in 2003, an Americana Music Award in 2006, and, in 2008, earned a “Best Country Instrumental Performance” Grammy nomination. Their albums have incorporated blues, world music, and jazz, and have been labeled roots music, modern bluegrass, and Americana.

This brings us to their Sugar Hill debut, and the question, what is Fascination?

Fascination integrates elements of folk, country, modern bluegrass and Americana, and often draws upon elements of blues and world music one would expect only to find on National Public Radio. Yet, apply any of these labels to their latest album and they seem not only to fall short, but to feel completely inaccurate. Some will make comparisons to Nickel Creek or The Duhks, but The Greencards, while also technically breathtaking and acoustically driven, inspire comparison primarily because they have consistently moved towards a sound of their own.

With Fascination, The Greencards are held together by adventurousness and fueled by tight musical arrangements and the brilliant cadence of Carol Young’s vocals. It is also notable that Fascination marks the first time the group has worked with a producer, as it appears Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin, John Hiatt, The Duhks) has helped solidify a sound that has sometimes been muddled in past

outings.

The Greencards shine on the instrumental “Little Siam,” deliver up some indie-pop immediacy with acoustic rhythms on “Fascination,” delve into world music with “Chico Calling,” and finally flirt with their modern bluegrass roots on “Outskirts of Blue” and “Rivertown.”

This range is more impressive when one considers all but a single song on the album were written or co-written with a member of the Greencards. “Davey Jones,” a hauntingly sung tale of the dangers of the sea, serves as an excellent example of the strengths of Carol Young’s vocals and is the sole outside creation on the album. “Three Four Time” and “Into the Blue” are the only sleepers, somewhat cerebral and inaccessible at first listen.

With Fascination, The Greencards move away from eclectic sampling and into a sound that is intellectually and emotionally theirs. Fascination is an argument for music without borders; a melding of influences held together by fine lead vocals, ethereal instrumentation, and a sense that musicians don’t have to be anyone but themselves.

I’m not sure what section of the store you will find The Greencards new album (most likely bluegrass, Americana, or perhaps even country), but I am sure you should seek it out all the same.


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7 Comments

Category: Album Reviews, Uncategorized

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  1. I really like the direction in which The Greencards are moving on Fascination. They sound authentic playing any style whether it be Gypsy Jazz, Bluegrass, or Contemporary Acoustic. I heard them live in Athens, TX a couple of weeks ago where they tried out the new songs on us. It’s great that they can sound just as good live as they sound on their CDs.

  2. Lynn DouglasNo Gravatar says:

    This album took awhile to grow on me, but once it did, I was indeed, Fascinated. Give it a shot and keep listening…

    Although many of them have been around for awhile, I happen to be digging a lot of the new international artists on the scene. They are throwing in different sounds, but are definitely keeping it real.

  3. William WardNo Gravatar says:

    There is a stream available of the whole album for a limited time.

    http://ilike.com/artist/The+Greencards

  4. Don FreemanNo Gravatar says:

    With Jay Joyce’s masterful production, The Greencards have truly found themselves. This is not Bluegrass, Country or even the default catchall Americana. This is The Greencards and I’m appreciating Fascination more with every listen. Their current tour in support of Fascination has them appearing in every Burg from coast to coast. See them live. You’ll be forever hooked, as I was two years ago.

  5. William WardNo Gravatar says:

    Third person I have heard the same thing from concerning seeing them live. They are definately earning a good reputation in that area.

  6. CountrySTNo Gravatar says:

    The Country Standard time has a review on The Greencard’s new album “Fascination” in their CD Reviews section. It is the 7th review on the page. Be sure to check it out at http://www.countrystandardtime.com.

  7. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    In the future, feel free to promote yourself, but please consider making an actual comment regarding the article on which you are posting as well. Otherwise, your comment may be considered spam.

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