October 17, 2013

CD Review: The Coloradas

Rustic tunes pluck at the heartstrings.

By Kristin DiCara-McClellan

Bluegrass, country, folk, Americana, roots: All of these words can describe the music of The Coloradas. Their brand new album, “Big Empty,” evokes imagery of a couple of guys singing their woes and haunts in old cabins with large, dusty front porches, plucking and picking with a deep reverence for their music’s history.

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Produced by Roy Davis and Bernie Nye


Based on a four-star rating

For people who enjoy this kind of music, these local guys (Roy Davis and Bernie Nye) have probably “hit the nail on the head” with their rootsy and rustic tunes. The enjoyment to gather from this CD is etched in their stories and anecdotes about real people and situations (or so it seems). The lyrics are clear and listeners might feel as if they are sitting right up on that dusty porch with them.

There is an air of improvisation, on the spot compilation, like one of them just came home from working on the farm, or from the country store down the road, and had to spill his pent up frustrations or just turn observations of life into a heartfelt song.

The first track, “Just for You,” opens up the album with a finger-picking number that charges right into vocals with a distinctive charm. They keep a down-home feel by recording the beginning countdown of the tune, with one of the guys stopping and then exclaiming, “Recording!” This makes it all feel like the listener is in the room with them, and it fits in with the entirety of the soul of The Coloradas.

“Maxine” kept hitting me with its somber lyrics in the front: “No one’s been this nice to me in 15 years/he said and he grinned as she handed him the bill/So she laughed just like she did the week before.” Yet again, the imagery here is clear and you want to curl up and revel in the human qualities of being humble, kind and vulnerable.

There is a simplicity that is the core of the style of music in their 13-song CD that they never really deviate from. They are certainly not reinventing the wheel in music here, but that is not their angle, and that’s a good thing.

The Coloradas have a CD release party on Oct. 25 at One Longfellow Square in Portland – cost is $12 in advance and $15 at the door. 

Kristin DiCara-McClellan is a Portland freelance writer.

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