CD REVIEW: Miriams Well - Indians and Clowns
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"a grand slam"
"amazing music out of Portland"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Label: Buckin Savior Records
Genre: Rock, Blues, Country, R&B, Folk, Country
Sounds Like: Bonnie Rait, Melissa Etheredge, Heart, The Judds,
Technical Grade: 10/10
Portland Oregon duo “Miriams Well” releases “Indians and Clowns” in May of 2010. This CD features music written & performed by vocalist Mir German & her co-writer, guitarist & producer Mark Bowden, as well as songs co-written by them with renowned songwriter Lee Garrett (“Signed, Sealed, Delivered”). Portland has an impressive track record over the years with respect to it's music, will this band follow suit, or break precedent?
The CD kicks things off with the title track “Indians and Clowns” a variant intro piece that serves up driving rock rhythm against bluesy rock guitar accents, with well placed harmonies & passionate vocals from lead singer Mir German. Track 2 “More than 1” serves up a slow moving blues rock ditty, against sizzling solo guitar work & impressive Hammond Organ chops making for an impressive psychedelic-rock groove. Track 3 “Stay” shifts gears a bit with slow moving acoustic intro eventually lending itself too an impressive musical ballad combining a perfect balance of country, rock, blues & folk. The CD get off the ground solidly serving up 3 hot tracks right off the bat. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic musical acts as Heart, Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheredge, Bonnie Rait & Rare Earth. The music itself combines classic elements of bluesy-rock with an aftertaste of R&B, country & even psychedelic 70's rock. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. I especially like all the low end rock grooves presented on each of the songs. You will also notice lush layers musical instrumentation layered everywhere from percussion, saxophone, horns, harmonica, served up hot via the solid low-end rhythm backbone with sizzling guitar solos & Hammond Organ chops along the way. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing impressive songwriting, world class instrumentation via an amazing vocal delivery up front from German. Zeroing in now on German’s voice: it goes down smooth but has a classic raspy jagged edge, reminiscent of such singers Bonnie Rait, Wynona Judd, Melissa Etheredge with even a dash of Janis Joplin. She makes the vital (singer to listener) emotional connection with her vocals each & every time. From uplifting “Gimme some Love” to grooving “Was no More” to dark foreboding “Waiting on a Plane, to passionate “Big House” this CD has something for just about everyone. It’s definitely a top notch musical production from start to finish with world class songwriting, amazing vocal presence from German & superb musicianship to boot.
From start to finish it's hard to find any weaknesses on “Indians and Clowns”, some truly amazing music out of Portland. It's an impressive catalogue of music that's easy to groove to, highly original, uplifting, & extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t a weak piece on this entire 9 song catalogue. All pieces are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing its own signature groove, & musical personality to call its own. The writing & playing abilities of this band are rock solid, & the melodies & harmonies are well crafted, The lyrical content is mesmerizing, & last but not least the vocal presence of Mir German is amazing. Like the aforementioned I really enjoyed some of the low end blues/rock grooves presented on the CD. I guess I could go on all night about Miriams Well, you have simply got to get your hands on some of their music. You should start with “Indians and Clowns” It’s pretty much a grand slam.
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