The Danberrys are a Tennessee-born husband and wife duo, Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel were a teenage item, went their separate ways, and then reconnected to start making music together, a meeting of their individual interests in bluegrass, country, soul and blues. Give & Receive is their third release, the debut EP and previous album both picking up an assortment of nominations and prizes. I see no reason why this shouldn’t add to the trophy shelf.
One of two co-written numbers, the almost hymnal Receive sets the ball rolling in early Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings mode, their voiced duetting over acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle and bass, the second of the collaborations coming with Let Me Ride’s slightly rockier roots rhythm as its heads for grace and glory. Of the other tracks, Daniels takes the lion’s share of the credits, her first being the trad folk influenced Lady Belle, DeBerry’s guitar interleaving with that of producer Ethan Ballinger, while her other half makes his bow and takes lead with the fiddle and banjo bluegrass stomping Long Song.
Daniels dominates for the following four numbers, the first being Don’t Drink The Water’s scratchy guitar-based five minute dry, bluesy percussive prowl with its slow march handclaps and religious imagery, immediately contrasted with the folksier Let Me Go; search for salvation with just acoustic guitars backdropping her soaring, pure vocals.
This, in turn, gives way to another shift in tone with Life Worth Living, the only instrumentation being dry shaker percussion and a minimal drum beat giving its working man’s lamentation a tribal rhythm while Ballinger and DeBerry’s voices hover around Daniel’s plantation-style delivery.
Introducing organ to proceedings, All The Way Up is a dreamy ebb and flow affair that conjures thoughts of Stevie Nicks in her soulful cosmic desert haze, while there’s also Wurltizer to be found, along with mandola and piano, on DeBerry’s remaining writing and lead vocal credit, Get Back Home, a laid back, banjo-burbling mountain cabin number. All of which leaves Daniels to close up shop with the aptly titled We’ll Be Done, a low key, five minute reflective song about rebirth and revival that sets consuming fire against cleansing water, Daniels singing how “nothing ever touched by soul is lost to flame” as the track builds to a lengthy choral outro. They say it’s better to give than receive, but this is their gift and you should accept it with open ears.
Give & Receive is out now