Two bits of news are always the cause of excitement. One is a visit from those Californian Rainbow Girls, and the second is a new recording from them. Last week in Norwich we were blessed with both, touring the UK for the first time in a couple of years they also had copies of American Dream – their third album – for sale at the gig, ahead of its official release in November.
The gig itself was an absolute gem, living long in the memory of all who were there as they once again charmed us and amazed us with the quality of their playing, singing, harmonising, and songwriting … not to mention their unique stage presence and personalities. Without losing any of their charm this is a quite different album, whereas on the first they were a five-piece, the second a quartet, they are now a trio and once again the development and evolution of the band is incredible. This is a slower, more sombre set of recordings, which they funded and recorded themselves in their own home, the songs breathe and the messages are loud and clear. Perhaps the one track on the album that most links to the Rainbow Girls of a couple of years ago is Can We Keep This Love Alive, which was in their live set as a new song at that time.
America is going through some extreme and alarming changes at the moment and the Rainbows have a lot to say about it, being three girls who absolutely live and breathe music, it is in their every fibre, so they are writing and singing about what is on their minds, raising awareness as they do so. Song for Standing Rock being a fine example of that but there are other topics which our own media are failing to cover which they spoke about during their set last week so once again it falls to artists to raise awareness of what is really taking place.
They should be very proud of this album, it’s a mature work of folk in the tradition of storytelling, feelings and social commentary which is beautifully played, featuring some slide guitar on the likes of Something I’ve Been Meaning to Say. Some songs featuring nothing more than gutar and their heavenly voices. American Dream is haunting and sublime. Others have some more instrumentation, such as Do Not Go Gentle Into That Dark Night which includes cello, plus violin and upright bass (from a couple of “Old Soul Orchestra” members). The songs all sit well together and the album has a wholeness to it.
Another highlight closes the album, the aforementioned Can We Keep This Love Alive, in full band format with the Girls playing guitar, bass, keys and guests on drums, trumpet, saxophone, trombone. This is a great album, the latest on their always upwards trajectory.
American Dream by Rainbow Girls is available on their tour date ahead of its official release in November when it will also be available online.
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