Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Because I love June and Johnny (Cash that is)

I tend to have a soft spot, dare I say attraction to anything that resembles June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash, which is why Gwyneth & Monko was a no-brainer. Gwyneth carries the vocals on this one, swinging the pendulum to the vocal stylings of Jenny Lewis or Gillian Welch.

On July 20th Gwyneth & Monko will release their Good Old Horse EP which evokes a feeling of nostalgia rooted deep in classic country fundamentals. Their first release as a duo, it breathes gently with down-home roots and indie folk sensibilities. Lead singer Gwyneth Moreland and multi-instrumentalist Michael Monko create intimate, pure and heartfelt songs infused with sentimental lyrics.

The songs tell stories of rejected lovers and youthful abandon. In “Lexington Ballad” an ill and aging prostitute poses the question, “What if it had been different/what if I’d been your jewel/If I’d been your one true love dear and not some handy tool.” A Grateful Dead cover, “Jack-a-Row” attests to the bravery it takes to pursue love as a young woman dresses up like a man to go to war and save her lover in combat. Gwyneth says, “They are fictional stories about what I imagine it might be like to walk in these women's shoes.” “Good Old Horse” departs from the fictional characters as Gwyneth pays tribute to her childhood horse, “Brandy” who is now 30 years old.

Gwyneth’s lyrics and musical style reflects her small town life in Mendocino, CA (population 1,006), a city rich of nature and history. As a child, Gwyneth grew up in a ‘back-to-the-land’ way of life in a household with no TV, CD player or junk food. That lifestyle resulted in a young woman who values the simple things in life. Growing up listening to her parents’ Bob Dylan and Joan Baez albums, her childhood has clearly translated into her adult musical life.

Monko grew up in the San Francisco suburbs, incongruously playing hard rock while listening to bluegrass in high school. As he got older, alongside the bass and guitar, Monko was drawn to classic folk and country instruments like the fiddle, banjo, and mandolin.

Good Old Horse EP Track Listing
1. Good Old Horse
2. Union Station
3. Lexington Ballad
4. Jack-a-Row
5. The Cuckoo