The Carmonas review…July 19, 2014….




The Carmona family is one of those unique bands that have a sound borne from being siblings.  Aaron Carmona and sister Alison handle the vocals, with brother Chad on the guitars.  Rounding out the ensemble are more extremely talented individuals, with Eben Cathey on banjo, Daniel Heacock on fiddle, Stephen Turney on piano, Tom Hoey on drums, and Eric Wilkey on doghouse bass.  They’ve already played the Bluebird Cafe, and have shared the stage with Marty Stuart and Emmylou Harris, among others.  And, their self-titled debut album hits the streets on July 29, and everyone will be able to witness the immense talents of these young folks.

They grew up as an “Army family,” and, thus, were constantly moving around the country.  Their music and sound is rooted in the various things they absorbed during their travels.  But, you can’t teach or learn that mesmerizing harmony that permeates these eleven cuts, and it is that plus their affinity for traditional-sounding instrumentation and arrangements that makes this set special.

They do experiment with some electrified instruments in a few places, but it does not deter from the overall sound, but, rather, enhances the experience.  “Into The Sun” leads off, as Aaron sings of a love that has gone bad, but, instead of “waiting for the last train to whistle,” he moves forward with his life, “Into The Sun.”  “Crickets” is a sweet duet done as an ode to everlasting love and “standing together while listening to the sea,” with Daniel’s fiddle solos adding fluent colors.  Alison’s intro leads to another dazzling duet in “Corner Of The World,” a place where no matter how many storm clouds gather, you always have a safe haven.  In perhaps the set’s most powerful piece, Alison and Aaron, backed only by acoustic guitar, give a chilling performance of “Dead And Buried in the ground.”

We had two favorites, too.  “Midnight Moonlight” features some of the amplified instrumentation, and, with its brooding, minor-key textures, was the most blues-oriented cut on the set.  And, “Salinas” is a terrific story-in-song that chronicles the tale of a man torn between driving all night to that California town to forget a lover, or turning around for “one night more.”  But, in the end, he “keeps my headlights on the road.”

Comparisons to the Avett Brothers and Mumford And Sons are inevitable, but we want to step back in time and add another name to that list.  The Dillards had that sort of musical telepathy that only siblings can share, and The Carmonas have it, too.  “The Carmonas” is this family’s most excellent debut!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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