'The word 'mudlark' has multiple meanings: a type of bird, an 18th-century pejorative for children rooting in the mud along the Thames River for things of some worth, and -- more to the point -- the very talented Davis-based trio of Ray Frank, Katie Henry and Laura Sandage. This musical MudLark digs about in the muck and mire of human foibles, and the nature of the human condition itself, and what they retrieve is a delightful and often meaningful collection of songs. Their contemporary sound, with definite old-timey echoes, is fashioned from wonderful vocal harmonies, guitar, banjo, string bass, trump (Jew's harp) and percussion. All but two of this bake's dozen of tracks are by Katie Henry or Laura Sandage. Ray Frank's 'Chickadee,' the first cut, is as delightful a musical manner to ward off winter as I've heard in a good long while. The only traditional song, 'Reuben' -- with it's baleful references to disappearing transients, sinister razor blades, and newly-started graveyards -- is a tried-and-true chestnut, learned from the singing of Joe Hickerson and rendered quite nicely by the good Mr. Frank. At one end of the emotional spectrum is the bluesy 'Chicago is a Meat-Eating Town' with a very pro-carnivore slant. Ray does a delightful trumpet imitation, while in the background one can most assuredly hear porcine and other animal sound effects. At the other end of the spectrum is Laura Sandage's'Guantánamo' a song as hard-hitting as today's headlines, troubling the very fabric of the American political psyche. Other personal favorites include: Katie Henry's 'Potty Song,' Sandage's 'Mountain Girl,' the story of a girl's longing for her deep mountain roots; and the haunting melody and French lyrics of the Henry-Sandage collaboration, 'Plaisir,' with it's message that often the simplest pleasures are the most beautiful and memorable. The last cut features the Davis OK Chorale on Henry's 'May You Walk,' an anthem-like call for strength and resolution even when one seems down and out and unwilling to continue going forward in life and it's pursuits. This is altogether a first-rate collection of songs eliciting love, warmth, and a true sense of musical purpose, by a trio that makes it's own definite mark on the musical landscape.' --Robert Rodriguez - The Folknik (Jun 1, 2008) 'The Davis trio MudLark puts a unique spin on Americana, with elements of Appalachian music, folk, country, blues, pop, old-time, choral and parlor singing. [Mudlark has] put together a dazzling set of original tunes on this newest album. They cover a wide range of topics, from the personal to political, with the mood alternating between serious and seriously funny...' --Landon Christensen - The Davis Enterprise (Nov 29, 2007) Kind Words from MudLark fans: --'Funny, digs deeply and tickles your insides. Thoughtful twists and gems of life, uncovering the things that bind us as humans.' --'Sweet music with just a touch of the odd.' --'Witty and sometimes outrageous!' --'Delightful, Delicious, Down-home, Devilish.' --'A trio of singer-songwriters who blend traditional sounds with sweet harmonies to create songs of meaning and moments of hilarity.' --'A subtle treasure.' --'Great to hear music that reflects our watershed/bioregion. A real treat...' --'Worth listening to again and again.'
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