Review: Nancy Beaudette, South Branch Road
Nancy Beaudette, South Branch Road
Raised near Cornwall, Ontario, Nancy Beaudette is an impressive singer and songwriter with a repertoire of folk, roots, and pop-centered songs on her newest release, South Branch Road. The storytelling songs combine edgy lyrics, comical events, and introspective happenings that are good topics for musical compositions. There are twelve tracks in all.
“Starlight” begins with a rollicking, B3 organ, up-tempo drums and guitars, and great vocals in a roots and folk vein throughout. The uppity tune is quite catchy with vocals akin to a more mature, yet tamer version of Texas singer-songwriter, Trish Murphy. The song is more aligned with pop and roots sensibilities than country or alternative. However, there is a slight country presence, mainly in the arrangements. Nothing is amiss here.
“Build It Up” opens with a gritty guitar intro of acoustic and electric brilliance. The twangy strings and folksy arrangements are slightly Southern in tone, but the vocals are still very bright and catchy throughout. The different string tones add depth and textures to the chords throughout. The drone of a few of the strings adds another level of complexity, but the music is never contrived or overdone.
“Ride On” begins with a scintillating acoustic guitar medley with light percussion in the background and Nancy’s youthful, yet seasoned, vocals. There are a few distant string drones for emotive effects. The entire song is rather laidback with crystalline guitar picking and cymbal percussion. There are back-up vocals in parts that seem to make the song stand out in true harmonic form.
“Shoot To Score (The Hockey Song)” opens with a rollicking acoustic guitar medley, swishy percussion, and tambourine percussion. Nancy’s folksy vocals are catchy and the lyrics are thought-provoking, comedic, and very playful. The narrative is very clever and definitely an homage to hockey’s greats. The vocals are rather triumphant near the end of the song, as the guitar and percussion reach a climax.
“You Got It Goin’ On” begins with a folksy violin or fiddle intro without any accompaniment, until Nancy’s sassy vocals chime in. There is a Vaudeville-esque ambiance to the song, as well as a twinge of bluegrass and country, which is a slight departure from the rest of the album. Still, the song utilizes an assortment of click, tap, and rasp percussion for a playful and happy result. The tune is only two minutes long. However, there is a lot ‘goin’ on’ with this tune and all of it is good.
Nancy Beaudette’s new release, South Branch Road, is folksy romp through North American roots and pop styles wrapped around strong songwriting and catchy choruses. All of the songs represent folk and roots, while others hint at bluegrass, blues, and rock. Overall, the music is rather inventive, memorable, and utilizes an array of instrumentation and melodies for a truly great result. Nancy’s vocals resemble the edgy fortitude of Trish Murphy with the sweetness of Annie Humphrey and Anne Weiss. The songwriting and vocals mirrors the creativeness of Shawn Colvin. At any rate, Nancy Beaudette is an independent musician and performer with a knack for creating intelligent stories, catchy choruses, and highly-textured instrumentation. South Branch Road is an album that traverses the heart-strings of love, life, and hope across related folk, roots, and pop genres. The entire album is littered with delicious chords, sounds, and rhythms that are very enjoyable. No improvements are needed here. In fact, this is one of the best folk recordings released in awhile. For Nancy, South Branch Road is paved with ingenuity—not potholes.
Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)