Album Review: When We Were Young from Kelly Suttenfield
Album: When We Were Young
Artist: Kelley Suttenfield
Singer Kelley Suttenfield offers her renderings of some of Neil Young’s most notable tunes on her recording When We Were Young, featuring the Memling Ensemble String Trio on a selection of tracks. Produced and arranged by guitarist Tosh Sheridan, songs refurbished with orchestral elements by the Trio give them a new look and feel. Suttenfield’s own timbres are very much the female counterpart to Neil Young’s gravelly bristles, possessing a similar folksy tone with smoother strokes and caressing motions.
Her treatment of “The Losing End” is adorned in country twange trimmings accompanied by her vocal phrasing that sits comfortably on the bobbing knolls of the rhythm section. “Flying on the Ground” is anchored by light-footed drumbeats rotating around the silky guitar strings bowing softly around Suttenfield’s vocals, imbuing the track with a feminine touch. The heavy tone of “The Needle and the Damage Done” exudes a sense of torment, contrasting the elevating ethers of the string arrangements lifting “Harvest Moon” and “Heart of Gold.”
County tooling, folk textures, and orchestral parings come together beautifully on “Down by the River,” showcasing Suttenfield’s flexible register, fitting agreeably with the synthesis of musical natures. Saving the finest for last, Suttenfield’s interpretation of “Old Man” is moving, evoking emotions in the listener and personalizing the song. Her vocal inflections possess a haunting quality indicative of the song’s creator Neil Young.
Suttenfield’s re-imaginings of some of Neil Young’s most notable songs give the tunes a new look and feel, a feminine touch. The graceful gait of her voice gives the tracks a slow and steady tempo that is pleasing and sentimental to audiences.
Kelley Suttenfield – vocals
Tosh Sheridan – guitars and back up vocals
Matthew Fries – piano and Fender Rhodes
Phil Palombi – double bass
Eric Halvorson – drums and percussion
The Memling Ensemble String Trio are:
Derek Ratzenboeck – violin
Vincent Lionti – viola
David Calhoun – cello
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