I often think of a bands live performance verses their CD recordings as being a bit like the book verses film analogy. The CD (or film) is merely the captured essence of the live show (book) and with even the best will, hardest efforts and most imaginative thinking can only be a teaser for such. Like a book, the live show is where you can experience every nuance, explore every layer, and really understand the players as well as their music. That said, Strangers We Meet, does come pretty close to getting inside the heart and soul of what The Black Feathers are all about.
As a husband and wife duo, there is an intimacy and understanding that some bands can never rival, as their sumptuous vocals entwine, something of this is revealed both in the pure passion of the delivery and the heart on sleeve nature of the lyrics. It is a collection of songs that openly displays its influences in the Heartbreaker era Ryan Adams-esque guitar lines dressed only with minimal instrumental accompaniment, Sian’s soaring Emmylou Harris pitch to Ray’s Gram Parsons response and touches of The Civil Wars occasionally brooding emotive sentiments.
Americana music in the UK is certainly on the rise but few on this side of the water capture the distilled essence of Appalachian folk and East Nashville rebel country as well and the fact that they are able to easily embed pastoral Old World folk themes says as much about the family trees of their chosen genres as it does about the song writing prowess of the band.
It is a great e.p. of that there is no mistake, one that you certainly should have in your collections but my advice is buy it at a gig after you have watched the live show and all the subtleties, sly winks, in jokes, grace and charisma of the two performers will forever be grafted onto every subsequent listening of the record. Like I say, always read the book before watching the film.