I’m excited about this new album from dear old friends. John and Tanya have both been playing music and writing songs since before the Berlin Wall came down. They’re now happily married and recording together, and this first proper album as a duo is a great payoff. Tanya’s always had a way with poignant story songs: “ballads” in the old sense of the word. John’s writing tends more towards wit, with an energetic shuffle and bounce reminiscent of early Indigo Girls. It’s folk in the broadest sense, and I think the release is well-timed. Acts like First Aid Kit, Wye Oak, Iron and Wine, and Fleet Foxes are helping make sincere, earnest songwriting and tight harmonies more visible among the musical blogosphere.
The album works well as a whole–a suprising cohesiveness, given two writers and songs written years, even decades apart. Standout songs include “Werewolf Night,” a wry look at late-night predators; “Euphrates,” a haunting song about faraway lovers; and “City of Dreams,” a bitter ode to poverty and desperation in a new city. You can hear history in their voices, a mutual understanding and harmony that come from countless late-night porch jams and coffeehouse dates. Highly recommended for any fan of indie folk or the singer-songwriter tradition. You can hear their music at The Story Is Everything.