Artist: Zoubek & Bryant
Label: Indie (WriteZB@aol.com)
Length: 45:14 minutes / 10 tracks
You could subtitle this debut album as "sea-side townsfolk who play really swell, wholesome folk music straight from an earthly-bound but heavenly-minded heart." Chances are you've never heard of them, but here is substantial proof that sometimes the best news is not the most well spread. Zoubek & Bryant's exposure under the moniker Threefold Cord on the second Awakening Compilation last year speaks well of their reputation as a promising new Americana act. Canning the old title due to conflicts with other groups by the same name, Rollyn Zoubek & Scott Bryant have settled on their Simon & Garfunkelish epithet to represent the ten worthy original tracks on their smartly packaged debut disc.
Although like many Nineties acts there are hints of wider influences and assorted sounds, Hinge falls very squarely in the category of folk music. Every track offers soothing, inviting vocals accompanied by exceptionally well-played acoustic guitars, thick bass lines, deft percussion, and the occasional fiddle, piano, or organ bits to round out the sound. There is nothing here to overwhelm you, but lest you dismiss this as sleepy after-midnight music for the insomniac, Z&B's form of folk transcends your commonplace coffeehouse variety. This is not just another dismissible unplugged duet doing their best for an under-appreciative audience. Instead, their songwriting skills and talented delivery will cause you to perk right up and take notice. Caffeinated beverages not required.
Hailing originally from the Connecticut shoreline, and now making their headquarters in a small seaside town in Massachusetts, oceanic images are poetically conjured in songs like "Shifting Sands" and "Whaling Town." Both are played so persuasively that you can almost feel the sand in your sandals and taste the salt-tinged air. However, much of their work warmly centers on relationships, like "Between Friends," which honestly questions the longevity of a friendship after one of the members weds his "true love." Other songs find spiritual inspiration as a beautiful source of sustaining peace. Undulating beneath the surface of these songs is a sturdy devotion to the God of creation and salvation that informs all their work. Nowhere is this more clear than their poetic bit of praise in "Pinpoint:"
Each star a pinpoint of your light
Shining through from the other side
Where the secrets of your love lie
You molded these waters with your bare hands
Each wave tumbles from a perfect stance
Crash the shore and disappear to another place
Where love like water flows with divine grace
You planted a garden in her heart
Each stem your hands,
Your arms reaching out
For me to follow
Leading me home.
The wind was soft
The waves were gently breaking on the shore
Everything was peaceful on the outside
But the inside of the man was slowly boiling
As he opened up his heart...
And this man I'm supposed to love
Order Information: Write ZB@aol.com or visit http://www.zoubekandbryant.com
Steven Stuart Baldwin (8/12/99)
Wow! There are so many great singer-song writer around the it's hard to believe I'm calling your attention to another one but here they are--Zoubek & Bryant. Clearly falling into the folk category, they can hardly be called average. Like Caedmon's Call and Simon and Garfunkel, they excel in simple well-played acoustic guitars and wonderful thoughtful lyrics which paint wonderful pictures of relationships using images of their Eastern seacoast home. We've brought back Swing, and the big band sound, rockabilly, surf music. Isn't it time to give some of these great folk bands a larger platform and bring back folk as a major popular genre of music--start by today by pickup this album.
Shari Lloyd 10/29/99