As I travel though this world full of incredible highs and unbelievable lows my companion has always been music. The type of music has changed through the years but one thing has been constant, it is music written not to make money but to enrich the lives of those that would hear the notes.
Obviously, since I started writing about music, the vast majority has been progressive rock and all of its variants but every now and again I hear something that people would not expect me to listen to but which really moves me in many ways.
The little beauty that grabbed my attention this time was the solo EP by long time Franck Carducci Band member Mary Reynaud, a delightful little bluegrass/folk/singer-songwriter concoction called ‘Make It Together’.
Consisting of six tracks and featuring Dorian Ricaux and support from Manu Bertrand and Franck Carducci himself, from the first listen it has brightened my day and washed away the blues.
“Like a Polaroid snapshot, this record represents the capture of a moment in time. It was not conceptualized and prepared as one normally prepares an album. However, during one evening in March, there was Franck, Manu and Dorian reunited in my living room gathered around me and my songs. Notes began flying, musical arrangements were settled and the idea to seize the moment was born. Two weeks after being in the studio, all three of us in a room and we recorded. Everything was captured as is, our hearts, our respiration, the ideas that came, our voices broken with emotion, the movements, the tiny flaws … just like in my living room. We mad it, together. And now, all you have to do is take a seat with us.” – Mary Reynaud.
So, all we have to do is press play and immerse ourselves in these wonderful pared back songs of wistful beauty, longing, joy, love and remorse, go on then!
“Last night a comet crashed in my dream, I first thought it might be a real bad thing…”
Magic Passerelle is an upbeat, fast paced little toe-tapper with some excellent fret work on Mary’s 1974 Martin D18 guitar and her delicate, yet sultry voice is the only accompaniment required. Just let the music wash over you and enjoy the feeling of the sun and wind on your back, a song for the summer for definite. The guitar playing is an utter joy.
“Close your eyes and stop your cries cause I will always be there, To dry your tears and take your fears and keep you warm with me…”
We turn to wistful and winsome with Make It Together a soft hued and soft timbred delight. The guitar playing drips emotion and Mary’s vocal is full of melancholy and yet gives a feeling of hope. The guitar playing and the way this delightful troubadour sings give a real feeling of gallic bluegrass. A song for warm nights sat around an open fire with a fine red wine, French of course!
“The sky is blue and I”m in a cloudy mood, I say I’m cool but my face don’t move…”
A sort of jazz/folk track with a light blues infusion (well, to my ears anyway), Sad For Nothing really hit home with me as it mirrored my feelings exactly, going through a difficult phase in my life. Stylish guitar playing, polished and earnest vocals and yet a feeling of remorse or something similar lying in wait in the background. The wonderful guitar picking is a delight to hear, a song for those close to us, late nights and serious discussions.
“I think I have a crush on you, It seems like I am falling for you, I know I’m wrong, I’m so young, but there’s not much that I can do…”
A passionate song of love and longing, No Way You Can Guess is full of beautiful fragility from the compassionate vocals through to the dreamy and contemplative guitar playing. I feel summer days and grassy banks alongside a jewel like, burbling stream, sepia tinged and nostalgia filled, where there is love, there will always be hope.
“Let’s spend the afternoon under the figtree, I’m Alice in wonderland and you are a pixie, Undercover of the leaves, there is no distance…”
The upbeat feeling returns with the utterly charming bluegrass hues of Under The Figtree. A three minute ditty with clever lyrics, clever guitar playing and Mary’s knowing vocals. You get a feeling of the mystery that Mary shows when she is in character as Alice in the live Franck Carducci shows. One to stand up and dance to under the stars, carefree and happy with life and yourself. A song of pure good-feeling, happiness and an utmost joie-de-vivre, bravo Mary!
“Stuck in frontof that white page, Wondering what you’d want me to say, I’m lost in an ocean of question marks, Time to give a piece of me…”
I loved reading the lyrics to 3 Chords And The Truth, the never ending battle about whether the songwriter should write to please the audience or just give a bit of themselves in the hope that the honesty will strike a chord. It is a wonderful song, straight from the heart of Mary Reynaud and you can hear the inner turmoil in her voice, a creation of sheer charm, elegance and grace. This is music pared back to the basics with the refined guitar adding a subtle backing to Mary’s heartfelt lyrics. Always be true to yourself, give all of yourself and no-one can ask for anymore, a parable for modern times perhaps?
Music truly is the food of love and you can’t help but adore this beautiful collection of songs from this talented lady. They lifted my soul from some very dark places and this EP should be on everybodys wish list. A natural feel-good lift for the body and mind and songwriting of the highest calibre, Mary Reynaud has released something true to her heart and we should all be thankful.
Released 14th September 2016