Some Velvet Evening – No Law Against Talking
Fans of classic country music should rejoice that new music is still being written in that style of yesteryear by the likes of Carrie Shepard and John Holkeboer (aka John Holk). The Detroit duo refers to themselves as “Some Velvet Evening,” and this project was recorded over a three-year period with the instrumental assistance of Todd Glass (drums), John Lang (pedal steel), and Paul McLinden (lead guitar). Shepard provides percussion, and Holk plays bass, guitars, banjo, mandolin and percussion. One instrument that I somewhat miss from this kind of music is the fiddle, and I’d encourage them to consider a little smooth bow work on their next release.
Given their moniker, the duo strives for a soft, smooth and lustrous sound. They don’t achieve the high, lonesomeness of their honky tonkin’ influences, but Carrie and John do succeed with a more relaxed, personalized elegance that emphasizes their close vocal blend. That’s why a folky rendering of “Springtime” or a rawboned country song “Shooting the Breeze” are presented with wafting gentleness and a natural quality that are sure to please aficionados of older country styles. Be sure to also check out their You Tube video for the latter. “Chore List” incorporates a simple melodic riff that gives the song a distinctly ethnic feeling.
When I hear the two covers on this album, I can’t help but draw comparisons to original renderings. As done by the Delmore Brothers in the 1930s, “Southern Moon” had a driving bluesy feeling. Recently, I heard the song covered in a bluegrass arrangement with considerably more tempo by The Crowe Brothers. Some Velvet Evening keeps their harmonizing close throughout the song, but I think they could have imparted more energy with their arrangement in a higher key. The impetuous closing number, “Come On, Let’s Go” is a radical change of pace but provides a nice tribute to Ritchie Valens who achieved a hit with the song about 1958, a year before he died in a plane crash with Buddy Holly while on tour. With their feet planted firmly in both the past and present, Some Velvet Evening is recreating a vintage sound that even presages the honky tonk era. Their music has heartfelt accents that are country-to-the-core. (Joe Ross, CD Insight)