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Midnight North - Scarlet Skies (2015)
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Midnight North - Scarlet Skies (2015)

10-08-2015, 13:02
Music | Country | Rock | FLAC / APE

Midnight North - Scarlet Skies (2015)

Artist: Midnight North
Title Of Album: Scarlet Skies
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Trazmick Recordings
Genre: Americana, Country Rock
Quality: 320 / FLAC
Total Time: 41:09 min
Total Size: 101 / 257 MB
WebSite: Album Preview


1. Phoenix Hotel
2. Lucky One
3. the Cactus Tree
4. Turn Around
5. Stayin' Single, Drinkin' Double
6. Wind And Roses
7. the Right Time
8. Quiet Starngers
9. The Stranger

Scratch that speculative itch by listening to “Turnaround” and “Stayin’ Single, Drinkin’ Doubles” from Midnight North’s sophomore album, Scarlet Skies. I’d say Midnight North is fronted by Grahame Lesh (son of Phil), but “fronted by” isn’t relevant when discussing this band. Maybe it’s due to their weekly gig at Terrapin Crossroads, the Lesh family restaurant and music venue in San Rafael, CA. Maybe it’s Elliott Peck’s beautiful vocals, or the recent addition of Alex Jordan. Whatever the reason, they are a band in every sense of the word.

Scarlet Skies is full of the gliding California sound with a slight crunch on top, and is more comfortably in the tradition of the Grateful Dead than their first album, 2013’s End of the Night. That album draws from a host of California sources, but oddly enough sounds a bit like the band that took the mantle from the Dead, Phish. Not the space funk Phish that took flight in 1997, but the D&D Phish of the late 80s and early 90s. Elliott Peck’s voice on “The Right Time” from Scarlet Skies starts a chill in my lower belly that runs up through my heart and out my third eye. In fact her vocals throughout both releases add a cool breeze to the band’s California crunch.

Which brings me to the elephant (turtle?) in the room: Donna. A singer for the Dead for about seven years, her vocals added a nice layer to several studio albums, but the Dead weren’t a studio band, and in concert Donna Jean Godchaux sang off key often. There is nothing like listening to a long, exploratory jam only to have some kind of banshee shake you from your revelry when the vocals re-enter. Scarlet Skies offers Deadheads a chance to hear what the band might have sounded like with a more consistent vocal performer.

“Wind and Roses” could have been written by Jerry Garcia, but all these comparison to the Grateful Dead do a disservice to this lovely recording and talented band. Scarlet Skies grew on me in leaps and bounds with each subsequent listen. By the time I heard “Quiet Strangers” for the third time I wasn’t thinking about who the band members were related to but shifted to waiting with bated breath for their next release. The band is hitting the East Coast this month with a stop at the Hampton Taphouse on June 17. They’ll be playing an afterparty with Jackie Greene the weekend Grahame’s father will close out the Grateful Dead’s fifty year history with three shows at Soldier Field in Chicago. Filling in for Jerry Garcia at those final concerts will be Phish’s Trey Anastasio, who stopped by Terrapin Crossroads recently to jam with father and son.

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