I’ve been real far behind on things I want to review this year, because I’ve had a particularly busy year at work. Before the year comes to a close, I feel the need to give a shout-out to some albums that came out earlier this year that are worth hollering about. I’ll be throwing these out for the next few weeks.
I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m far more impressed by a person’s decision to stay quiet than any boldness in getting loud. Cancellieri‘s 46 and Raleigh is a gentle, tender record that builds on last year’s beautiful Closet Songs by featuring Ryan Hutchens’ voice with only a sparse acoustic guitar or banjo as framing. This collection is named after the cross streets of a childhood home, and the tenderness and nostalgia those memories evoke are written all over these tunes, musically and lyrically (“Fake Flowers and the Weather, John Fogerty’s “Paradise”). Hutchens’ soft, supple, yet clear voice takes the lead here, guiding the listener through originals and re-imagined gospel tunes.
The mix of the old and the new cements the nostalgic cast of this record, but it never turns to navel-gazing. “I’ll Fly Away” evokes the joy of the tune but isn’t afraid to keep it minimal (just imperfect, enthusiastic vocals and a foot stomp); his wonderful “When the Saints Go Marching In” similarly distills the tune to its core essence. “Lay Me a Pallet” sees a lower vocalist added for a nice change of pace. It’s an commendable element throughout: Hutchens never lets the album get repetitive or boring. It’s a rare skill that keeps a minimalist record from getting boring, and Cancellieri has that skill. If you want a beautiful acoustic record, you need to look up 46 and Raleigh. [Editor’s Note: Cancellieri is now known as Ryan Hutchens.]