Album Review: Stetson & Cia — Stetson & Cia

Juli Thanki | February 7th, 2012

stetsonciaWhen the Cherryholmes family band went their separate musical ways last year, it seemed like it might be a while before we got to hear once more from Cia Cherryholmes, the talented banjo player who wrote a substantial chunk of the group’s material. But, thankfully, she hasn’t stayed gone for long, teaming up with singer-songwriter-guitarist-fly-fishing-guide Stetson Adkisson, who released a solo album in 2006.

The pair’s debut, an eight-song album that clocks in a hair over 25 minutes, provides a tantalizing glimpse into one of Americana music’s most intriguing new partnerships. Produced by the duo and Molly Cherryholmes—who also contributes violin, cello, piano, and drums—Stetson & Cia is an intimate, understated collection of mid-tempo songs and ballads. The arrangements, while deftly performed by the three musicians, are unobtrusive, keeping the duo’s warm voices at the forefront of the album. Though both Adkisson and Cherryholmes do a fine job solo, it’s when they sing together that the music jumps from “pleasant” to “delicious,” especially on “It’s Been Too Long,” where Adkisson breaks into a lovely falsetto on the chorus.

The pair make a strong songwriting team as well, especially on the plaintive “Folded Arms,” which depicts a couple on the brink of collapse wondering “If we go back to where we met/Can we fall in love again?” Moving album closer, “Dead Easy Mine,” finds Adkisson memorializing an era where “men worth a damn” earned an honest wage, a “way of life [that] died in the mines.” It’s not all broken hearts and coalmining, though. “Don’t Hide Your Love,” one of the album’s standouts, offers a pep talk set to sprightly banjo: “Love is a gift that is meant to be carried high in the air, not a treasure you bury/Don’t sit and watch as it slips through your hands/Don’t hide your love, don’t hide your love in the sand.” That lyric can apply to musical gifts, too, and it would be a shame if anyone let this record slip past.

4 Stars

Preview or purchase Stetson & Cia

  1. Leeann Ward
    February 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Agreed. This is a great album. I just wish there were a couple more songs on it.:)

  2. Rick
    February 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Having heard these songs on their recent live webcast, I will take a pass on this EP. My all time favorite Cherryholmes songs were composed by Cia Leigh, such as “Brand New Heartache”, so I know the potential is there but most of these songs are just too mellow for my tastes. I will admit I’d much rather see Cia fronting a top notch bluegrass band than taking this career path, but them’s the breaks. That line of thought reminds me that I’d love to hear these two tackle the Jon Randall song “My Life”! (lol)

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