C’mon may just be this year’s great American album, with echoes of Johnny Cash and Gram Parsons throughout.
With very precise production from Matt Beckley and the band, which is fronted by husband and wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, they have created an album that is melancholy, epic and just plain beautiful in places.
There’s even a hint of Jimi Hendrix’s version of Star Spangled Banner on the intro to one of its many standout tracks ‘Nothing But Heart’.
This is their ninth album and while some of their earlier releases have sounded a little too ‘slow core’ and bass heavy C’mon has a new sparkle to it. It twinkles in places, such as on opening track ‘Try to Sleep’ or on ‘You See Everything’ where Parker takes lead vocal duties.
The main focus of the band, of Parker and Sparhawk’s vocal harmonies remains. When their voices come together the effect is sublime. It’s no wonder they married.
It’s taken us a while to get a copy since its release earlier in 2011, but it’s been worth the wait. While tracks like ‘Try to sleep’ are obvious singles, it’s as a whole where this album comes alive, especially in the way it has captured echoes of America’s recent musical past.
I’m reminded of Blue Velvet and the film noir of the 1950s throughout as the impressive list of contributors add their slice of America to the mix. Wilco’s stellar guitarist Nels Cline’s lap steel, Caitlin Moe’s violin and the subtlety of Dave Carroll’s banjo are among the standout turns on this perfect album.