Stacy Earle and Mark Stuart 'Dedication' - Gearle

This latest album is a comfortable statement of the duo's current musical landscape. Comfortable in that they have developed that kind of ease within their music, each fitting into the others song space, and comfortable to those who are acquainted with their previous solo and duo records. The have co-produced the album with Michael Webb and the 12 songs, including a shorter radio version of the 6 minuets plus Little Rock, are varied and look at life from the different perspectives of a partnership. Earle's first two songs Here Comes The Pain and Here Comes The Rain run together and make the point that bad things happen but life goes on and acceptance of these vicissitudes is a part dealing with what it throws at us. The Flag, another of Earle's inward looking songs, has a simple acoustic guitar backing enhanced by Webb's accordion and ambient wind sounds and an almost spoken vocal that tells us about her life and worries as a mother herself that tell her offspring that "you haven't been anywhere that I haven't been". It is a touching and warm song with a bitter sweet ending. If You Change Your Mind another Earle songs (she has the larger number of the songs here) has more of their close harmonies that often define the sound of this folkish-rootsy album which again reaffirms the  strength of relationships. Little Rock has an uptempo beat and Stuart's travelogue highlights his guitar skills, playing acoustic, slide and twanging electric on the track. Earle adds her harmonies to Stuart's seasoned voice. His Broken Heart For You is a self-explanatory tale of regret that is led by Earle's piano motif. Their jointly written song I've Been Wrong, I've Been Right sums up the underlying tension and understanding of any long-time relationship and musically it flows soulfully. A Great Day To Fly is a ukulele, acoustic guitar instrumental track that closes an album that has much to recommend it to dedicated fans and curious onlookers.