Spartan, desperate-sounding ballads can be low on dignity, but Kelley McLachlan‘s “Only Thing We Share” falls on the elegant side of the tally.
The tune features nothing but rich piano, subtle guitar, and an engaging duet between McLachlan and male vocalist Mario McClean; out of that minimalist palette, McLachlan weaves a reverb-heavy tune of maximum gravitas.
Both the vocalists have beautiful tones with which to sing beautiful melodies; McLachlan’s voice uses a big range and dramatic nuance on the delivery to great success. McClean’s round, sonorous voice counterpoints beautifully with McLachlan’s more direct tone. The two intertwine to create an excellent duet over the simple, satisfying arrangement.
Ultimately, the piece is carefully arranged and performed so as to avoid a maudlin touch; this is delicate, elegant sadness. Fans of The Civil Wars will jump up and take notice, while fans of sad folk songs everywhere will hear the requisite sadness to draw them in.
“Only Thing We Share” comes from the forthcoming Misty Valley, which comes out May 31. Misty Valley was recorded in Columbia, SC at Slow Radio. On the record, McLachlan is joined by Idris Chandler, Ethan Fogus, Kristen Harris (The Boomtown Waifs), Steven Harrod & Branhan Lowther (both of Slim Pickens), Mario McLean, Steve Nuzum, Brodie Porterfield, and Sean Thomson. If you’re near West Columbia, South Carolina on Saturday June 1, you can (probably) hear this track live at Kelley McLachlan’s Album Release Party with The Restoration and midimarc at Blue Moon Ballroom (doors at 7:30pm, $10).