Beautiful Thing – Peach & Quiet

Taking inspiration from Folk, Blues and Soul, Americana duo Peach & Quiet return with their soulful second album 'Beautiful Thing'.

Beautiful Thing

Peach & Quiet

  • Americana

  1. Beautiful Thing
  2. Calgary Skyline
  3. Pockets Empty
  4. Behind the Sun
  5. Just Before the Dawn
  6. Horse and Saddle
  7. This Time
  8. Oklahoma or Arkansas
  9. Save Me Tonight
  10. Song From a Tree
  11. That Is For Sure
  12. When You’re Gone

The second album by the Canadian duo is a warm and soulful affair, steeped in shades of 60s folk, Americana, blues and 70s organ grooves.

The punningly named duo are Jonny Miller and Welsh-born Heather Read from British Columbia, this being their sophomore collection of  Americana filtered through  the prisms of blues, 60s folk and 70s  psychedelic rock,  featuring contributions from producer Steve Dawson on electric, pedal steel and slide guitar and ensconced inside a cover featuring a rather fine picture of an African Peach Moth.

The title track gets the ball rolling with Miller singing lead on a 70s flavoured country rock ballad in the manner  of The Eagles and their ilk, a song about the euphoria of love and life described here as:

How a cloud feels dancing in the rain

after  reconnecting with the world:

I got waylaid and lost but I figured it out …Sometimes we struggle, living in this dream.  And then we remember, it’s a beautiful thing

He’s in the spotlight again, their voices harmonising in the choruses,  on the funkier chugging riff driven ‘Calgary Skyline’  with Dawson’s steel and a chunky electric guitar solo and lyrics that reference   Calgary, Alberta and Sunalta in song about fumbling the relationships ball:

Her head on my shoulder, I gathered her in, but I couldn’t hold her

But still holding out hope to get it right:

Dark clouds form where warm winds blow.  Wait a little while and see where this goes.  It’s been said and I’ve been told.  That rivers run through banks of gold.

Read takes over for her self-penned, organ-backed and similarly bluesy ‘Pockets Empty’, which uses gambling imagery to talk of a doomed relationship:

Oh I was a fool I gave it all away I bet all of my money On the wrong horse in the race After the lies and cheatin’, after the foolish games I stand with my pockets empty, I hang my head today Why couldn’t I see it, he was clearly not my kind

One that also speaks of domestic abuse:

And now I’m a woman with an empty house no honey and a big black eye Before I know he was coming He bore down on me in his pain And I stand with the print of his ring On the left side of my face

The mood remains downbeat for  Miller’s slow walking blues ‘Behind the Sun’:

I channel the rage, I soak in the loss. I nail both my hands to this burning cross. I tear at the throat, I peel back the skin. I demolish the house, where memory lives. I am the darkness inside the flame, I am the stone that sharpens the blade. I am the shadows behind the sun, I am the pain inside of love.

Basically, it comes on like a vilification of toxic masculinity:

I promise the world, I give you the void. I sing with conviction, to silence your voice. I start at the end, I end at before. I am the cause of god and of war.

In thematic contrast, Read returns warbling on the driftingly slow, folksy-tinged intoxicating lovely ‘Just Before The Dawn’, steel again adding textures alongside organ, bringing a softer vocal treatment to speak of the comfort and solace found in another’s arms:

When the weight of the world is on my shoulders In the dark just before the dawn Alone in our bed, with my lonely dreams I am tossed like a ship upon storm Oh I will wait, I will wait I will wait for his song For every note in the soft melody Brings me close to the nest of his arms…For the rasp in his voice and the notes that he sings Mend the places in me, that were broken Topping it off with a quote from Henry Thoreau.

Miller’s father was a reggae DJ and that influence spills into the loping rhythm of ‘Horse and Saddle’, another song about looking to be reunited with a lover, that suggests Jimmy Cliff may have loomed large in his dad’s collection. It’s a theme he returns to on Oklahoma, or Arkansas which concerns leaving home to find yourself:

I’m gonna go, down to New Orleans. I’ll buy some diamonds, and a big machine. Across Mississippi, to the Georgia line, up in them hills, where a man can hide. Ain’t never going back to Wichita …

But then finally being reunited:

Wait for my letter, when the spring arrives. Buy a Greyhound ticket, and a dress that s white. I’ll be standing in my Sunday suit, a Panama hat, and my daddy’s boots

Again addressing the complex nature of relationships,  Read takes on the moody 70s blues rock ‘This Time’, where, caressed by pedal steel and another electric solo,  the lyrics complement her earlier track as she sings:

This time I’ll get it right Part of me had to die along the way Preconceptions overturn Some bridges need to burn While you wait for me You didn’t want me to be someone else So I became a better version of myself

Miller on vocals, the steady, rhythmically choppy ‘Save Me Tonight’ again speak of love in terms of recue and redemption:

I’m growing tired babe, of rolling around. There’s always another show, and another town. I need to get back to you, I’ve got to make a change. Out here in the desert, everything looks like rain …The way I’m living, just ain’t right, and I need you to save me tonight

Read takes the honours on the album’s standout track, the gentle, folksy ‘Song From A Tree’, a bittersweet song about putting the past behind and being present in the moment in a shared coming together:

There is no that, there is no there There’s only this, only here There is no you, there is no me There’s only us, only we

It ends with two further country blues ballads, the pair alternating lines and duetting on the chorus for ‘That Is For Sure’ which echoes the same simple sentiment:

I’ve got it all, now that you’re here. Hold me close, before we disappear. However long, we have on this earth. You and me baby, that is for sure.

Miller closes shop on the dreamily slow walking, gospel bluesy organ-accompanied ‘When You’re Gone’, a poignant musing on separation and being reunited in memory and dreams and, ultimately, in death

I’ll be marking the time Until I lie down by your side Where I belong When I’m gone

Warm and at times tenderly soulful, it both confirms and builds on the promise of their debut, a beautiful thing indeed.