October 29, 2010 | 6:42am
Title: Children of Fortune
Basics: More shitty pop punk? No. Some countrified rock about fictional outlaws? No sir. Then what, pray tell, exactly is Nowhere Man And A Whiskey Girl? Just some super mellow, twangy folk music. Derrick and Amy Ross comprise the duo -- she sings and plays piano while he plays acoustic guitar. Self-proclaimed wanderers, the Rosses have settled -- for now -- in Willcox. Oddly enough, their music very much reflects their current locale.
Best Song: While album opener "All I Know" sets a very promising tone, it's "If Only I" that captured my attention the most. It's a stripped down offering, yet the song is surprisingly grandiose. Derrick and Amy know how to create quite the wall of sound with just an acoustic guitar and a piano. What seals the deal for me is Amy Ross' vocals on the track -- they are at their best and most earnest, remaining soft-spoken with a touch of yearning for good measure. I don't even care about lyrical content with this song, which I often obsess over -- the singing is just that good.
Worst Song: The title of "Caramel Sails The Seven Seas" sounds pretty goofy. And guess what, it is. There sometimes exists a need to write a whimsical, silly little song to evoke a playful mood on a somewhat sombre, more toned down album. While "Caramel" offers some whimsy, it's just not as good as some of the other songs on the album -- and that's more of a statement about the quality of Children of Fortune. "Caramel" is innocent enough, but the "yo-ho-ho," silly pirate refrain is a bit much.
Suggestions: Keep writing toward that sense of adventure and those smaller, off-the-beaten-path towns you hold so dear. It warms my heart to know that Derrick and Amy consider Corvallis, Oregon one of the "cooler" towns among the many they have called home. For full disclosure, I called Corvallis home for three years, so there is a little bit of a bias there. Children of Fortune was recognized perfectly by Gracenote, as well, and that professional feel really helps ease my fears about an album that may or may not be on the fence. I cannot stress enough how much an album that looks the part, more often than not, lives up to its appearance.
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