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CD Reviews: Moorish Highway 


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Anne Cunningham and David Lerner, AKA Saugerties duo Trummors, open their sophomore CD Moorish Highway with "Vigil," a hymn-like plea featuring the persistent drone of a harmonium, conjuring old-time churches, '70s English folk, and/or a hive of friendly bees. That harmonium, wielded by Cunningham, recurs frequently throughout this refreshingly brief, 34-minute-long album. An antique precursor to the electric organ, that rarely heard, hand-pumped keyboard provides the Trummors universe with a particular rootsy gravitas. Lerner's guitar, ranging from Nick Drake-y fingerstyle acoustic to George Harrison-esque 12-string, frames the songs, while atop it all flows the pair's intimate, often close-harmonized vocals, recalling Simon & Garfunkel here, the Carter Family there.

Cunningham and Lerner weave all of the above into fare that, while hewing to classicism, nevertheless sounds bracingly original, thanks in large part to tantalizing, oblique lyrics and inspired arrangements. Impressive guests flesh out select tracks; drummer Otto Hauser (Vetiver) and bassist Jason Preston bring the Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac groove to "Bogus Bruce" and "Moorish Highway"; electric guitarist Kevin Barker adds shimmer to a spare cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain"; pedal steel ace Marc Orleans imbues "Branches Divide" and "Autumn Gold" with real country soul. Standout, radio-ready tunes include irresistible "Please Please Me" homage "Stranger From Now On," and pop confection "Always Seems To Rain." Both are well under three minutes, but, like the rest of this collection, they'll stay in your head for much longer than that.

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