Two and one

Gypsy Tailwind debut a tremendous vocal pairing
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  May 21, 2008
Gypsy Tailwind

Released by Gypsy Tailwind | with Will Daily & the Rivals | at the Big Easy, in Portland | May 23
Ever since Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon did such a fine job as Johnny Cash and June Carter in Walk the Line, I’ve been infatuated with great male-female duets (is there a greater creator of sexual tension in film than their “Time’s a Wastin’”?). There’s something thrilling about the right harmony of opposite-sex voices, the meaning and emotion they can convey, the balance of power and grace.

Locally, Garrett and Sirii Soucy are the standard, in Tree by Leaf, followed closely by Sara Cox and Nate Schrock, back when they co-inhabited the Coming Grass. Lately, the new GFAC disc had Lauren Sullivan and Adam Gardner’s “Lovesick,” which induced a recollection of Darien Brahms and Spencer Albee punctuating GFAC, Vol. 2 with “All this Time.”

Now the new Gypsy Tailwind, pairing former Goud’s Thumb frontman Dan Connor with new find Anna Lombard, can run shivers right up your spine with two voices that were invented for one another.

If only Lombard and Connor sang together more often.

“The Long Drive Home from Montreal,” off their debut Halo Sessions, is damn near mind-blowing in its melancholic lilt. Connor opens with a finger-picked guitar and a simple bassline, his voice at its most tender — “I could her you laughing above the wind” — for an extended first verse, then is joined in a transcendent chorus: “Won’t you wait, wait for me, wait for me/I’m driving home to see you.” And they leave a full two measures before that final line, representing all the ache of the wait.

On the rockabilly/bluegrass stomp “Two and One,” Lombard takes the lead from the outset, Connor saying volumes with an affirming “mmm-mmm.” You can just see them side by side, sharing a mic, eyes locked.

Yet there are songs here where we don’t even hear from one or the other at all. Why?

“Alabama” is a nice country shuffle, but Lombard accompanies herself in doubled vocals, and Connor’s grounding voice could have helped. “Dandelion” is a great mix of indie urgency and alt-country sentiment — “You’re looking like hell now/Yeah you’re living like a dog” — with a cool dobro line from Carter Logan, but Connor’s endearing falsetto reach calls out for Lombard’s crystalline delivery. And Lombard seems almost too clean on her solo “You’ve Never Seen My Love,” which has a nice piano part, but comes off a little American Idol.

Maybe it’s just that they spoiled us with the opening “So Lonely,” which starts off like a more organic version of Beck’s “Lost Cause,” imbued with the same desperate heartbreak in Connor’s voice. When Lombard in the finish echoes McCartney’s “Something” with her “I don’t want to lose you now/You know I believe in how,” it’s impossible not to pick out that one word change, substituting her feminine “lose” for the Beatles’ “leave.”

It resonates all the more after the chemistry-laden preceding verses.

From its title to its song mix, this nine-song album feels like what used to be a demo, and we can only hope this is just the beginning of a great collaboration, where the band develop an identity based on that chemistry. It’s a rare and beautiful thing.

On the Web
Gypsy Tailwind:

  Topics: Music Features , Celebrity News, Entertainment, Johnny Cash,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
    "(Israeli) immigration asked me at the airport why I didn’t leave when I could have and I said it was because I felt safe. They told me I was nuts.”
  •   WHAT YOU SAY, RYAN?  |  July 16, 2014
    Ryan’s calling card is his sincerity. While the production and presentation are of a genre, you won’t find him talking about puffing the chron or dissing women or dropping a million f-bombs or using a bunch of contemporary rap jargon. He’s got a plan and he executes it, with more variety and modes of attack than he’s had on display to this point.
  •   BETTY CODY, 1921-2014  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine music community lost a hidden giant last week with the death of Betty Cody, at 92.
  •   ADVENTURES IN LO-FI  |  July 11, 2014
    One obvious reason for heavy music is catharsis, a healthy release for all the built-up bullshit modern life entails. Like kickboxing class for suburban women, but with lots of black clothing and long hair.
  •   FULL HORNS AHEAD  |  July 03, 2014
    An arrangement of alto and baritone sax, trombone, and trumpet combining to front a band like Mama’s Boomshack grabs your attention so completely. There just aren’t many bands doing that.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE