Let's Do Something... marries a collection of contemporary songs with the bluegrass flavours of Bill Evans (banjo, guitars) and, Megan Lynch (fiddle), in a refreshingly simple, yet immediately affecting album. Their duetting vocals and stripped back arrangements are not dissimilar to those of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, though Evans and Lynch manage to be not quite so austere.
A couple of sets of tunes composed by Evans punctuate the contemporary songs. "The Distance Between Two" provides the opportunity to sample Evans' dexterous banjo picking alongside Lynch's fiddle, that provides both subtle accompaniment, and soaring solo interludes. Conversely, "Sleeping Lady" is played out with utmost restraint, with a forlorn banjo plucked sedately over a weeping string arrangement.
The diverse choice of songs that Evans and Lynch have selected come from the pens of some of the world's most celebrated writers. More importantly, they steer clear of a lazy recital of the originals, coming up with some inventive and truly engaging interpretations, subtly blending with their impressive bluegrass sensibilities.
Nick Drake's "Northern Sky" gets a new lease of life, sounding every bit as winsome and poetic as Drake's words ever do, but with a relatively sprightly arrangement that belies the song's age, wonderfully proving the point that the best songs truly are timeless. The fact that Evans and Lynch perform the vocal as a duet, steers the song away from any loneliness found in Drake's original, investing it with a comforting warmth. Van Morrison's "Into The Mystic" receives a similarly buoyant makeover, sounding almost as if it had been written as a bluegrass standard. Maybe that's exactly what Van The Man had in mind?
There are some more obvious song candidates drawn from a broad folk/americana repertoire, such as John Gorka's "Morningside" or Chris Coole's "Old Dog," that unsurprisingly take well to the bluegrass treatment. However, even on a quirky cover of We The Kings' "Check Yes Juliet," that receives a deal more production work than any other track here, Evans and Lynch manage to be convincing, in a hillbilly-rock kind of way!
Give Let's Do Something... a try! I think you'll love it... just for the fact that it's different!
Click here to visit Bill and Megan on MySpace!