By Devin Morse
The album Power Lines by Jubilant Bridge falls somewhere in-between Emmy-Lou Harris, John Prine, and the soundtrack for the Christopher Guest mockumentary A Mighty Wind. Needless to say, this 11-track lullaby isn’t exactly a “get up and dance” sort of affair, but rather a “sit with a cup of tea and reflect on the ant farms of your past” type of gesture.
The duo of Carol Van Alstine and Willie Jaegar take turns as lead and backup vocals, accompanying themselves on the acoustic guitar and dulcimer. In addition, a group of guest musicians imbue the music with a slew of folky charms, including fiddle and Irish bodhran. The songs are melody-driven, and vocal harmonies are prolific throughout.
The title track “Power Lines” is a moody, nostalgic piece drawing a metaphor between traveling and lasting, passionate love. Alsine provides angelic vocal forefront, while Jaegar chimes in with ambient harmony. The interplay between the guitar and the dulcimer set the stage for (what anyone who has endured a lengthy road trip or long-term relationship will recognize as) an appropriately dreamy backdrop.
Overall, internal rhyme and rich metaphor is Power Lines’ strongest point. Jubilant Bridge seems to have a penchant for poetry. Poetry put to music, however, can sometimes come off a tad cheesy. The music, although pretty, is a bit one-track and melodramatic. Criticism aside, however, this album is still enjoyable for any diehard folk fan.
By Devin Morse