Misner & Smith. Headwaters.

61db64cn8jl-_ss500Sam Misner and Megan Smith were both actors before joining forces musically after meeting at a Shakespeare Festival. Having released four albums notable for the pair’s harmony singing here they return somewhat to their thespian roots explaining this collection of covers by saying, “Every actor’s job is to interpret someone else’s words…For us, approaching covers is about capturing the essence of the song…”

The duo tackle eight songs they claim as inspirations. There are no radical reinventions here, the covers all recognisable. The pair sing wonderfully, both individually and in harmony while their playing is exemplary particularly in the interplay between double bass and guitar on their delightful version of Dr. Dog’s Turning the Century, a song which has the freshness one imagines folk heard when they first encountered Simon and Garfunkel back in the sixties. Indeed the album opens with Simon and Garfunkel’s America, so faithful to the original that one is surprised when a clarinet fails to play, and they repeat this on songs by The Loving Spoonful, Gram Parsons and The Band. They do surprise with their version of Talking Heads City of Dreams which comes across as if it were Neil Young covering it round about the time of Comes a Time. As with most collections of covers one might ask, “why bother?” but it is a very pleasant listen.

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