The Father, the Son, and the Soucys

The album doesn’t fall far from the Tree by Leaf
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  November 21, 2012

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Literary and intuitive, Tree by Leaf's Garrett Soucy is widely admired as one of the best songwriters Maine has ever produced (well, "widely" is a somewhat relative term hereabouts). Now a pastor and father of five with wife and co-writer/singer Siiri, he has mostly retired from the music biz, but he and the mrs. can't seem to shake the music-making bug.

Especially as it's a vehicle for him to spread his gospel. The pair's new Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Soucy (released only digitally on Noisetrade.com) doesn't mince words; it's as straight-ahead devotional as you'll hear, whether in traditional gospel form or with Americana flavoring. The genre has rarely been this smart, though, I'll wager. Even the song titles are brightly lyrical: "Adagio for Skin," "Diamond in the Cheek of a Woman When She Speaks," "Shamgar Had an Ox Goad."

I had to look that last one up. Wikipedia tells me he's one of the judges who could chat with Yahweh and once took down some 600 Philistines all by his lonesome. With his ox goad. Which is like a stick.

Basically, you make do with what you've got, and Soucy's got an acoustic guitar, some piano, subtle organ that bleeds in from time to time, and Siiri's lovely backing vocals. For those who maybe wished the Tree by Leaf records were a bit better mixed and captured: Jonathan Wyman did this one. It's as intimate as it needs to be. Like listening in on a particularly expansive confessional.

"You Give Me Everything" (the finishing song because the tunes are ordered alphabetically) has an "Imagine"-style piano treatment and a vocal hook that grabs you from the outset, with a lilt like Neil Young's "Helpless." "Just Like You Did" is a Buddy Holly kind of country rock, with a bouncy, crisp delivery, and a burning energy: "I need to grow, I need to grow, I need to grow." "You Are Water, We Are Thirsty" is an upbeat kind of melancholy, with the first instance of electric guitar, which manages to act like a drumset.

This is deep and heavy material and listening to it can be like standing really close to the woodstove after coming out of the cold. It feels wonderful until the heat of it drives you a couple steps back. And then you creep back closer.

MR. AND MRS. GARRETT SOUCY | Released by Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Soucy |  noisetrade.com/mrandmrsgarrettsoucy

  Topics: Music Features , Garrett Soucy, Jonathan Wyman, Tree by Leaf
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