Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5
The Gossamer Strings are a duo made up of Liat Lis and Kyle McGonegle, from Eugene Oregan. Due to the Darkness is the sound of two harmonising vocal, banjo, guitar mandolin and bass. “She Can’t Hear Her Heart” is a gentle Country song, Liat’s beautifully mournful voice takes the lead with Kyle providing harmonies. “Due To The Darkness” and “Going To The West” are built around Lis’ deft banjo and glorious harmonies from the duo. At times there is a touch of classic 60’s Simon and Garfunkel in Kyle’s warm vocals, adding to the feeling of absolute class from this album. “Following Through” contains some fine mandolin picking from Kyle, but the real smouldering fire is when the two voices twine together. “Wonder Why” ups the tempo with some quick knotty playing, but the vocals still sound effortlessly beautiful. “Try Your Hand” is another beautiful folk country song with a reflective vocal from Liat. Producer Billy Barnett’s piano adds depth to the sound contrasting the duos playing well.
“Sandy Boys” from Lis’ bright bouncing vocal to the bluegrass lope of the tune, felt like a stripped back Crooked Still in mid flight. “Everything Breaks” opens with a capella voices. Kyle leads with Liat doing the harmonies and the effect is simply beautiful, think soft bluegrass Simon and Garfunkel. “Big Sky” is a twisting instrumental, with mandolin and guitar dancing around each other. There is beauty in the way the notes wrap around each other, the nimble mandolin and those big guitar chords. “Train On The Island” is a gentle closer, the paired voices singing of separation and a parting over riffing instruments that suggests wheels on tracks and locomotion.
This is an assured debut that takes classic Folk, Blues and Bluegrass and blends them with classic harmonies to make something sophisticated and timeless.
Choice Track: “Going to the West” (NSV 493)