Record Review - 4 December 23 2000
Like the band's curious name, it's tough to get a handle on Heritage Cherry. Restrained and soulful, the relaxed vocals of songwriters Shannon Tanner and Adam Wright (who don't co-write their tunes) plop on top of an idiosyncratic sundae of jazzy country and folk pop that's cozy as well as catchy. Each song glimmers individually, yet fits into a chain of shiny, modest charms.
Most impressive is how the duo and their band let the breezy songs find their own path. Nothing forced, pretentious or stilted, this is music made from the heart and played with controlled instrumentation — never overburdened with excess production or needless solos. Tanner's malleable voice shifts from vulnerable to proud and remains true to the songs' lyrical evocations. The duo seldom share lead vocals, but when they occasionally sing together, their understated harmonic power breathes as if it was John Doe and Rickie Lee Jones lounging together on a country porch. It's the reflective, occasionally cocktail-jazzy nature of these songs, particularly "bmin7 (I'll Be Back Around)," that adds distinction and makes Heritage Cherry's first studio disc so consistently delightful.
Though drawing from an eclectic set of influences, the group's low-key sound is clean and refreshing. When all the pieces meld together — as on "Jezebel," with its hooky chorus, delicately jaunty tempo and easy-flowing pop melody — it's clear that, like the lone autumn leaf on the album's cover, Heritage Cherry's music drifts through a multi-hued landscape with grace, style and natural languid beauty.
Heritage Cherry play at their CD release party, Thurs., Dec. 21, at Smith's Olde Bar.