Accordion-fronted bands are normally either polka or comedy, so Nova Scotia's Lewinskies stand out immediately. There's no novelty factor here though, this is a modern, unique folk based around the portable keys, voice and composing talents of Kristen Hatt Lewis and her partner, guitar player Matthew Lewis. Thoughtful and compelling, Kristen's words and delivery have an old-world feel with contemporary approaches and attitudes.
The set was recorded live off the floor of the Old Confidence Lodge in rural N.S. by producer Charles Austin, along with some flown-in parts by folk pals in England, and it has a fascinating aural quality. That starts with the accordion of course, but also gets rich Euro-touches from the clarinet of Phil Sedore, especially on the minor key klezmer of Icy So Long. Deep acoustic bass and woody percussion from the dynamic Halifax duo of Tom Easley and Geoff Arsenault is featured throughout, and guest violin from the UK's Matt Steady help give the music everything from a Parisienne cafe atmosphere to a beat poetry recital. Matthew Lewis flourishes sometimes give the songs Gypsy touches, so it's a absolutely a blend of their own.
With the slower tempos and dramatic moments, there's a distinct power in each song, especially when Kristen Lewis moves into crucial lines and a higher, forceful delivery. It's highly effective and moody, and I'm betting even more so in a club setting, the duo recently having return from a lengthy tour of England. They do have a few upcoming Maritime shows, so catch details at www.thelewinskies.com.