12/12 – The Dutchess and the Duke @ The Mohawk

dutchessduke08This here is a story of heartbreak, a story of fallen heroes.  The Dutchess and the Duke made their way once again into Austin amongst strong praise for their recent release Sunset/Sunrise.  Our expectations were high, and we promoted the show as best we could, hoping many would see the greatness that was D&D.  Unfortunately, the night fell far short of our expectations, or mine at least.  Follow the jump for full review and photos.

Read more

The Dutchess & the Duke – Sunset/Sunrise

dutchess-duke-sunset-sunrise

Rating: ★★★★½

When The Dutchess and the Duke burst onto the scene last year, creating havoc for every person using Microsoft Word, we couldn’t have been happier.  Their acoustic duets recalled The Rolling Stones, but with a little bit more with portrayed in the lyrics. Now, they return, with their second album, Sunset/Sunrise, willing to do it all again.

“Hands” opens the album, and it’s clear that the sun has gone down on this duo.  Lyrical messages hint at dark times for the narrator, but as the chorus bursts through, you see the same formula from the hits off their first album. Sure, there is a hint of guitar soloing, but it’s just enough to show hints of change, without altering the game completely.

“Scorpio” exists as one of the finest moments on the album; you would call it the brightest were it not for the lyrical imagery.  Flourishes of orchestration (a violin perhaps) fittingly add a bit of melancholic tone to the tune, hinting at the gravity which exists at the heart of the song.  So when you come across “Living This Life” you can see that the distance referenced in “Scorpio” has finally come to sit in with the band.  Everything about this album seems to exemplify a distance, be that with family or lovers. As the guitar meanders, seemingly over a horizon afar, you can feel the emotional change of the group.

As you hit the album’s almost title track, “Sunrise/Sunset,” the picture of a shift in the writing process has come to complete fruition.  Kimberly Morrison has taken over vocal duties for this song, as well as “When You Leave My Arms” Although her smoky vocals are a perfect accompaniment to Jesse Lortz, these two songs demonstrate that she has a knack for pulling every bit of emotion out of her songs.  It’s a refreshing twist to Sunset/Sunrise, clearly deepening the repertoire of the group, rather than labeling them as re-hashers of classic rock.

Unlike the last album, which hit you in the face real hard up front, the new record seems extremely even. From start to finish, there seems to be some sort of focal point for the group that allows for such balance, which ultimately might make this album stronger than its predecessor.  And you come to the perfect ending with “The River.”  The song is treated by some soft touches of piano, perhaps providing it with a touch of the epic ending.  Ultimately, this song serves as a summary for the album.  Questioning one’s existence, and one’s relationships to loved ones, all wrapped up in one final tune.  Perhaps it was written for the soon to be child of Lortz, who, like us, will look on Sunset/Sunrise with pride, longing, and perhaps a little bit of reflection.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/10-The-River.mp3]

Download: The Dutchess and the Duke – The River [MP3]

FT5: Bruce Springsteen Albums

0403top5coverFinally we’ve been given an excuse to write about The Boss on The ATH. The Working On a Dream tour will be rolling through town this Sunday night at The Frank Erwin Center, and we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to look back on Bruce’s recording career. The Boss burst onto the scene in 1973 with his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and the Jersey boy is still going strong over 30 years later. Go ahead and follow the jump to read my picks for The Boss’ Top 5 Albums.

Read more