It works, it really does! This trio, comprising, husband and wife team
Ally McErlaine (guitarist with Texas) and Shelly Poole (late of Alisha's
Attic), together with Charity Hair (not so much a wig destined for Oxfam
as a former member of The Alice Band), make a very beautiful sound. This
has everything and more to do with the way in which Ms Poole's and Ms Hair's
voices fuse together in blissful close harmony. They are very near in tone
and timbre and although they have clearly worked hard to get their larynges
lined-up what comes out of their mouths sounds deliciously natural and easy.
The band's music has its roots firmly based in country soil but there is a
refreshing absence of many of the genre's usual clanking cliches in evidence.
Even when it seems as though they're getting ready for a hoedown, as they
do on the perky 'Evening Song', the number turns an unexpected corner and
pulls the spirit of Buddy Holly into play with highly enjoyable results.
The desert tumbleweed slide guitar of 'Morning Song', too, twists convention
into a very pretty new shape to frame the heart-warming melody and harmonies.
'The Gold Hour' opens up like a dream full of a summer day's last rays of
sunshine; warm air, long shadows and cornfields swaying in a gentle breeze.
The softly shuffling 'Tables Turn' is less than two minutes long but still
makes its mark with its beautifully crafted tune. 'White Feather' smacks of
cowboy stuff but actually turns out to be one of the album's most graceful
compositions (they sing of wolves crying at the door to which I can only
give my wholehearted seal of approval!) Final track 'The Happiest Girl In The
Whole USA' allows Mr McErlaine a little look in on vocals too (why should girls
have ALL the fun!) and brings the album to a charmingly downbeat conclusion.
Red Sky July's fine debut is a welcome visitor on this cold, damp November day.