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Bread and Bones | Could Have Been A Dream

album review by Kate Risi

Bread and Bones | Could Have Been A Dream

Bread and Bones, a self-proclaimed “harmony driven trio”, is sticking to their signature style with the recently released Could Have Been A Dream. A folk-driven album written for folk music lovers, both the original and cover songs boast impressive harmonies and traditional melodies.

The album begins with “This Is the Day”, setting the tone that continues over the course of the record. Strong vocal harmonies between the two vocalists, Richard Ruane and Beth Duquette, paired with soothing, sometimes repetitive lyrics, fuel the song and continue on throughout the album. The song has a steady beat and builds on itself slowly, as all good folk songs do.

“Will I Be Welcome”, “Could Have Been A Dream”, and “North Along the River”, follow in a similar vein. Clear and honest vocal quality paired with storytelling lyrics, strong harmonies, and smooth string playing (guitar, mandolin, banjo, and ukulele), deliver fun melodies while hinting at something more serious.

While some of the lyrics are predictable, “You showed me something I was waiting for/ something I had never known before,” they tell an honest story: “I had no love before/ good times but nothing more.”

The album hits a high with “Emily Sits by the Window.” The deeper vocal tones and more subtle use of harmonies create a hauntingly vivid scene. “There’s a song on her tongue/ from when she was young/ of lovers and troubles that finally are done.” The harmonies, while beautiful, are relied upon in every song, making it sometimes hard to tell where one song ends and another begins. Halfway through the album, the lyrics and harmonies feel oddly familiar.

Could Have Been A Dream has many high points. The vocal quality and harmonies propel it out of the standard folk album arena and the fun, energetic backing music in many of the pieces will have your foot tapping a steady beat. However, the album’s not meant to please everyone. If folk’s not your thing, Could Have Been A Dream isn’t for you. Bread and Bones knows their niche and they stick to it throughout the album, delivering a unified set of songs with a strong, clear focus and fun melodies that carry a serious undertone.

Bottom line: A harmony-heavy folk album for folk lovers.


 

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