ANNE HILLS and DAVID ROTH
Wind River 4051
In this 13 song collection, veteran performers Anne Hills and David Roth team up to tangle you in their world of truth and beauty. Their songs leave you with a sense of hope, but not false hope. They leave you with a sense that the right combination of words and melody might just help you peel back the complexities of some wildly diverse issues: Issues ranging from immigration, affordable housing, health and well being and ending with the Dalai Lama making it big in Nashville.
Anne Hills and David Roth have been friends for years, but this is the first time they’ve come together for an entire project. Rhubarb Trees is a mix of old and new songs that take full advantage of the time-honored tradition of the duo. Anne, especially, is no stranger to collaboration. She’s done recordings with Cindy Mangsen and Priscilla Herdaman, Tom Paxton, Michael Smith and even recorded two of David’s songs earlier in her career.
Rhubarb Trees opens with a straight duet of David’s “May The Light Of Love,” finger-picked, not strummed, and performed by trading off verses and lines. This sets the tone for the performances that follow. With the exception of bassist Mark Dann who, by the way, also mixed and mastered the recording, David and Anne are the only other musicians. This allows David’s musicianship to shine. Highlights include a breath-taking rendition of Anne’s “The Child Within,” the whimsical title track—a fantasy stroll through a fanciful garden (Check out the front cover art) with the feel of a very old folk song, a three part, a capella round inspired by the Association For Comprehensive Energy Psychology – no kidding! If you needed any more proof that Anne Hills has gone beyond being one of folk music’s greatest interpreters to one of our very best writers I hold up her song “Night Time Falls” as evidence.
Anne Hills and David Roth performance on Rhubarb Trees will make you feel as if you were witness to the most intimate of house concerts. The arrangements are sparse and direct as well as perfectly arranged for these two voices.
— Matt Watroba