BEYOND THE DOWN
Sometimes when you check out a band's website it's a lot of glossed over exclamation of quality, and at other times there are honest reflections of the band.
In checking out Barley Wik two lines caught my eye as being bang-on regarding this all gal bluegrass/roots band. One line suggests “Barley Wik sing like angels and play an array of acoustic instruments like they sold their souls to the devil.” Well that pretty much explains this group, as you'll soon recognize on songs such as Sweet Slow Dance, a simply dynamite cut on this CD.
The website also suggest Barley Wik's music is “Prairie sunsets with a Tennessee shuffle.” Again that is a pretty accurate description of what you get here. There are Canadian Prairie elements, set into the world of Tennessee bluegrass/roots, and that all works out fine since there is a common country/rural base to both.
Barley Wik is Liz Pearl, Michelle Voison, A. Jamsz and Paula McGuigan. The four gals are consummate musicians, and their voices come together in pure as silk harmonies. These gals are flat out good.
So what are the best songs here? Frankly all 12 cuts are solid, but All That We Have, Highway 3, 60 Days with sweet mandolin work, and the title cut which has great lyrics.
This is an impressive effort if you like the genre, one not to be missed for folkies and lovers of roots and bluegrass.
Check these gals out more at www.barleywik.com, and buy it.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Mar. 19, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada