It’s Celtic Connections time again folks. We’ve already reviewed New Country Rehab who are playing two gigs. Now it’s the chance of Rebecca Pronsky whose appearance on 30th January chimes in nicely with the release this month of her fine album Viewfinder. Pronsky is a Brooklyn girl who in interviews comes across as feisty and entertaining as one might expect from an inhabitant of that borough. An example from a recent interview with Americana UK
“I’m about to marry my guitar player. That’s pretty significant. I never thought I’d meet a guitar player who wasn’t a cocky SOB and not only did I meet one who is kind and lovely, he is super talented, plays so tastefully, and has been behind me 100% in this crazy biz.”
That guitar player is Rich Bennett who provides much of the rich texture that adorns this album. He has a firm grasp on that sinuous slinky reverbed guitar sound that Chris Issac and Richard Hawley are so fond of and his playing throughout is a delight. Allied (or married) to the tremendous guitar playing are Pronsky’s lyrics which relate oblique slideshows and snapshots of relationships and memories, mostly forlorn despite the upbeat backing. On top of this Pronsky has a fantastic voice which harks back to classic country singers with a hint of sadness and held back sobs but with a purity that is reminiscent of Neko Case. Pronsky writes all but one of the songs here. The exception is Lucy Wainright Roche’s Mercury News which fits into the overall picture like a bespoke glove.
From the twang filled opener Hard Times to the reverb drenched minimalist closer Good Life (lyrics: I’ve Been Given a Good Life/I Was Born at the Right Time) this is a corker from start to finish.