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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Paul's Grandfather - Sorry Lovers And The Living Lake

Paul's Grandfather - Sorry Lovers And  The Living Lake
2010, Paul's Grandfather

It was in October of 2008, at Fredonia State College, when Kate Preston, Rebecca Ryskalczyk and Karrah Teague first hit it off.  The three singer/songwriters combined their voices (literal and otherwise) with a guitar, an old Casio keyboard and a kick-drum, creating a unique sound that’s full of musical flourish, talent and personality.  Paul’s Grandfather, as the trio named themselves, became a quintet with the addition of Bobby Frisk (drums) and Paul Swenson (cello).  With an ear for traditional roots music ala Be Good Tanyas, and an alt-folk edge in line with Nerissa and Katryna Nields, Paul’s Grandfather will charm you with their originality, not to mention the angelic harmonies of Preston, Ryskalczyk and Teague.

Sorry Lovers And The Living Lake opens with "Oh Great River", a wonderfully catchy blend of Appalachian folk and rock n roll that you won't be able to get out of your head.  Vocalist Karrah Teague purrs and wails like Grace Slick, while the frenetic pace of the highly orchestrated arrangement carries the song like a heavy river current.  The vocal harmonies here are exquisite, and the acapella chorus after breakdown will send chills down your spine.  "The Wonder Years" is a stark, martial anthem about the destruction of small town America at the hands of elites who make fortunes at the misfortune of others.  Paul's Grandfather builds a wonderful dark atmosphere devoid of hope but full of vigor nonetheless.  It's a brilliant bit of songwriting with many layers, steeped in intelligence and a deep melodicism that's inescapable.

"White Trash" is a stark and urgent number decrying the mistakes of past generations and the wages paid their progeny.  It's a lucid bit of songwriting that's edgy and intelligent.  "Baby Please" borders on psychedelic, orchestrated folk; a compelling sound that mixed dissonance and harmony in shocking measures.  The disjointed sound lends a surreal air as the bridge descends into madness before resetting into the verse; a disturbing number that you just can't quite pull yourself away from.  "I'm With You Kilgore" is angular folk, if you can imagine such a thing.  There's an urgent energy here that's inescapable, and Katie Preston handles a challenging vocal turn with aplomb.  "Ghosthunting" is wonderfully varied in song construction, with Paul's Grandfather building an eerily beautiful arrangement that blends, folk/rock, Appalachian and Celtic influences. 

"Bobby's On A River" is a lyric number that shows Paul Grandfather's more civilized side.  Not complete civilized; sort of a Simon and Garfunkel meets Be Good Tanyas in a funhouse.  The song has a gorgeous melody sung by Becca Ryskalczyk and the vocal harmonies enhance the atmosphere to near-perfection.  Paul's Grandfather pushes off with Eighteen Aught Five, a stripped down arrangement featuring acoustic guitar and the three glorious voices Preston, Ryskalczyk and Teague.  It's as if three fatalistic angels are singing the story of a ghost as a lullaby.

Coming from the back porch of Western New York, Paul's Grandfather will surprise you with just how good they are.  Roots music with a fatalistic twist and occasional forays into rock n roll are the order of the day on Sorry Lovers And The Living Lake.  Paul's Grandfather is without doubt one of the best new finds of 2011.  The voices of Preston, Ryskalczyk and Teague positively soar, and the musical choices are complex and satisfying.  If Paul's Grandfather gets anywhere near you, make the trip to see them.  Albums like Sorry Lovers And The Living Lake certainly don't come along every day.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Paul’s Grandfather at or on FacebookSorry Lovers And The Living Lake is an imminent release.  Expect availability soon on, iTunes and other outlets.  For the time being you can stream two of the new songs and a handful from the groups previous EP, No Home on their MySpace page..  If you're in the Western New York area and get a chance to check out Paul's Grandfather live, don't pass up the opportunity.

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