Following on from a well-received EP in 2014, the Gloucestershire-based husband and wife acoustic Americana duo of Ray Hughes and Sian Chandler now return with their much anticipated full length debut Soaked To The Bone. They’ve been likened to defunct American duo The Civil Wars, but the waltzing Goodbye Tomorrow, accompanied on fiddle by Anna Jenkinsn alongside BJ Cole’s pedal steel and dobro from Phillip Henry, is far closer to the more classic pairing of Gram and Emmylou, while the atmospheric Blind recalls Gillian Welch and David Rawlings and Down By The River, which premiered on Folk Radio UK here, leans to Johnny and June territory. There’s also a folksy feel to the chords ascending strummed giddy opener Take Me Back and the aching, simply arranged Arclight while the moody Spider And The Fly finds them stretching bluesier muscles.
Mixing together the jaunty stylings of All For You (from whence comes the album title) with the more reflective, ruminative tones of Homesick and the cello-backed sadness that is Winter Moves In, the focus throughout is on the couple’s glorious harmonies, easily some of the best heard in recent years.
There’s one cover included, a tender, devotionally intimate shared verses take on Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love that might even make Bob himself shed a tear, before the album ends on another note of hope in times of doubt with the gorgeous, almost hymnal Clear Blue Sky, a song and performance that suggests Richard and Linda Thompson have a place in their hearts too. An album to drench yourself in, long may they pour down like silver.
Review by: Mike Davies
Out Now via Blue House Music
Order it via Amazzon
Upcoming UK Shows
04 – Cafe #9, Sheffield
05 – Kettering Arts Centre, Kettering
09 – Old Fire Station, Oxford
11 – The David Hall, South Petherton, Somerset
12 – Under the Edge Arts, Wotton-under-Edge
14 – The Green Note, London
18 – The Stables, Milton Keynes
19 – The Vine, Hannington
25 – The Lansdown, Bristol