Finches and Crows

Finches and Crows. Finches and Crows.
Finches and Crows, 2013.

Finches and Crows is a band formed in 2011 out of Oberlin College, specializing in bluegrass, folk, and country tunes.  If you follow Carolina Chocolate Drops, you know that Rhiannon Giddens is an Oberlin Conservatory alumna, and the schools reputation for housing excellent artists holds true in this instance.  Their self-titled album is their first recording together as a group, and as a debut album, this is definitely a solid example.  Red Rocking Chair begins with a rock-styled countdown, and stays high energy and upbeat, but still has considerable depth.  Portions of the song have an almost call-and-response style to them, while other portions feature stunning harmonies.  Dropping a bit in the tonal range, Fiddle Tune features a fiddle, but has far more time given to the other strings, letting the fiddle parts be fully developed but not too extensive a component.  The track is quite rich with various movements and slight changes.  Wish You Well slows down the pace a bit, and the singers in this track have a more pronounce hills-country accent, which I enjoyed and thought it added a very authentic feel to the song.  This song has some of my favorite string work and picking.  In Sweet Baby’s Arms, the group adds a new voices, and create more variation in their album, with the vocals very much in the forefront.  Going back to a more familiar sound in this set, Irene is an original song by Kenny Ludlow, and very different from other songs featuring the same name, but I’d bet that it has the same staying power, if given the right attention.  The vocal quality in Irene is more plaintive and longing than what’s heard in other tracks, and the sound sticks pleasingly in your ear.  Ah Cappella begins as the title describes, but brings in strings about half way through with a strong instrumental theme before the vocals pick back up again.  The instruments fill what had been punctuated silences in the a cappella verse and completely changes the song.  To close out the album, One Eye Open has a slightly gruffer sound to the vocals that works well, and is reminiscent of some of the traditional country divas’ sounds.  It’s an upbeat end to a stunning album, and easily makes one proud of the quality musicians found so close to home.

Personnel: Molly Moss (vocals, mandolin), Kenny Ludlow (vocals, bass), Charlie Stanford (vocals, guitar), featuring Meghan Mette on fiddle.

Tracks: Red Rocking Chair, Fiddle Tune, Wish You Well, Sweet Baby’s Arms, Irene, Ah Cappella, One Eye Open

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