The duet of Cahalen Morrison and Eli West suggests the infinite possibilities in sound, texture, and mood contained in a pair of voices and a couple stringed instruments. Counterpoint is the thing here. Eli’s guitar and bouzouki bravely lean out over the ledge of Cahalen’s solid banjo and mandolin superstructure. Eli’s voice softens Cahalen’s knife edged tone. They seem to look both within and without - as a writer, Southwest native Cahalen often stands on the line between sea and shore in his lyrics, while Eli, from the Pacific Northwest sings more of the prairie and the barroom. Their music bubbles and sighs, crashes and sails on this, their second recording. It’s both mysteriously poetic and true to life, as when Cahalen sings, “As any crow can tell you, the sky goes on forever, and as any man can tell you, true love is hard to find.” I love the singing and these songs that just keep getting better with each listening.
There’s a lot of faith and conviction that underpins these very able musicians. Their disarming reinvention is sly, brand new, and yet somehow ancient. Music like this doesn’t come along very often. This stuff just reassures me. I’m ready for whatever they have to bring.