steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion

Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl

"Just Like the Others" CD

727 Records

Genre: singer/songwriter, folk pop

July 31 2008

The covers album has a long and storied history, and Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl are the latest to throw their best effort into the ring. In line with their bare-boned folk style, derived from just vocals, guitar, and piano, this married duo (Amy and Derrick Ross) cull most of their pickings from the singer/songwriter camp. The emphasis appears to be on female songwriters, with names ranging from the ubiquitous (Tori Amos, Joanna Newsom) to the relatively obscure (Jolie Holland, Robin Vining). Of course there are several exceptions - World Class Thugs, Sleepwalker, labelmates Fatigo, and even Jimmy Eat World all get reworked - but despite the varying source material, all of the songs are given a similar treatment. For Ross & Ross, the name of the game is Americana-tinged, personal folk-pop - the sort of stuff that comes across as both mature and melodic. Amy Ross's voice is pristine and endearing, but not without personality; it is capable of angelic prettiness ("Fiver's Song," "Ghost of a Dog") but also unafraid of packing some punch ("Old Fashion Morphine," "Girls Who Wear Glasses"), or even doing a little yodeling (Gillian Welch's "My Morphine"). The instrumentation, with Amy on keys and Derrick on guitar, is competent if unspectacular; it sets a constant mood throughout the record, and its consistent simplicity leads the listener to a fundamental realization - you may write quaint folk ditties or blaring rock anthems, but songwriting-wise, they're all just songs in the end.

nowhere man and a whiskey girl's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, 43:38, distributed by the label, released 2008]