The vaunted duo Storyhill (Chris Cunningham and John Hermanson) sing in perfectly paired melodies that suggest a brotherhood beyond familial ties or friendship. So musically bonded -- pure products of their environment -- the two keep their rural folk-derived concept within that undeniable, agreeable lineage no matter the circumstance or sentiment. The title Shade of the Trees contradicts the cover art, depicting a field of forestry either clear-cut or burned to the ground, suggesting the ironic consequences of life that can be overcome with the passage of time and patience. Though played in an unforced manner, these are not really lighthearted songs, as "Well of Sorrow" and "Caught in a Mess" suggest that better times will be difficult to find. Cunningham and Hermanson use harmony as an attachment rather than the main fare, as their voices intertwine nicely, though there's more of a discernible difference in their approaches during "Cover Your Tracks." Two-beat folk, easier feelings of love, and appreciation for the great outdoors, as well as some wonderful finger-style guitar from the two can be heard, and you also hear distinct echoes of the late John Denver in their music. Consistently pleasing and well produced by Grammy winner Dan Wilson, Storyhill keep rolling on with another typical, predictable, heartfelt effort. Michael G. Nastos, Rovi
- April 20, 2010
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