Tuesday, November 8, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: THE LEWINSKIES - GOOD FOR ALL
Lead singer and accordion pusher/puller Kristen Hatt Lewis has been around the Nova Scotia music scene since her group Wooderson was going. Along the way she's made a name as a go-to singer for folks such as The Heavy Blinkers, Matt Mays and Gabe Minnikin, and switched instruments from guitar to mandolin to cello to the quirky accordion for this new project. It also features her husband Matthew Lewis on guitar, and as a special guest on this debut set, Phil Sedore adding clarinet and pedal steel.
Accordion and clarinet are main ingredients for polka and klezmer and such, but this is instead rustic and charming folk, with limited instruments. It resembles the mood and simplicity of fellow local Old Man Luedecke at his most stripped down, when he's just doing banjo tunes with upbeat lyrics. The accordion has the same kind of awkward, slightly-behind the beat feel as a cautiously played living room pump organ, picking out favourite hymns. The acoustic guitar helps out, like the cousin sitting in the corner who knows the chords but doesn't want to get all showy. And the clarinet, that's Uncle Jerry giving things a little more colour but keeping it sounding old and rural.
Meanwhile, Lewis herself is singing her honest lyrics in an equally unaffected way, with effects or echo on her voice, so it all really does have that living room feel. There's just enough modern dialog to place it today, or else it would pass for 1930s music, especially if it was on a scratchy 78. But it actually just sounds real.
The Lewinskies are launching the debut CD Good For All at Halifax's Carleton Music Bar & Grill on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 8 PM.