DEAD FINGERS – Big Black Dog

Album: Big Black Dog

Artist: Dead Fingers

Label: Communicating Vessels

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Dead Fingers 7-15

www.communicatingvessels.net

BY FRED MILLS

Previously a duo with an acclaimed 2012 album under their belt (Dead Fingers, issued by Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum), husband-and-wife team Taylor Hollingsworth (of Conor Oberst’s band) and Kate Taylor (sister of Azure Ray’s Maria) are now a trio x 2, having added a child to their household and hooked up with a drummer for touring purposes (no doubt he can help with the babysitting too). The band name, though, is a misnomer; these fingers are definitely alive with the sound of music.

In one sense, it’s a familiar sound, as the Birmingham, Ala., band has been accurately compared to Americana torchbearers the Civil Wars and the Lumineers, along with She & Him and even John Prine with Iris DeMent. Twangy shuffles with a healthy helping of harmony vocals are the order of the day. Yet in tunes like the atmospheric, almost psychedelic title track (think My Morning Jacket), the rolling and good-timey “Free Tonight” and the southern gothic country & western “Holy Water” (listen for the “Rawhide”-flavored whip cracks) one quickly discerns a broad array of musical influences that inform the group. Echoes of everything from cosmic cowboy Byrds to early ‘60s girl-group pop—when Kate takes the lead, Taylor’s harmonies are so simpatico the two sound like Brill Building refugees—to classic Fairport Convention British folkrock are heard in these 11 delightful tracks.

Slipping in and out of musical personae as if trying on differently-textured and –hued sweaters, Taylor and Kate grab your attention with their inherent tunefulness. Then they hold it by never veering into clichéd turf, instead maintaining a remarkable fluidity and diversity.

DOWNLOAD: “Big Black Dog,” “Holy Water,” “Still Haven’t Been Satisfied”

Dead Fingers just kicked off a U.S. tour—dates are HERE.

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