LEICESTER BANGS - UK Music
If We Could Fall In Love Again
Rick Dinsmore and Jos Callard got together in 2005 and moved to Austin a year later. They follow in the tradition of Americana musical pairings such as Buddy and Julie Miller, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and EmmyLou Harris and, well, just about everyone. On “If We Could Fall In Love Again” they’re joined by a full band of talented young players and experienced session musicians, who between them have performed with everyone, from Manhattan Transfer to the Brothers Johnson and Bruce Hornsby. Needless to say, the musicianship here impresses from the off, and coupled with the duo’s contrasting vocal styles, “If We Could Fall In Love Again” deserves serious attention and much consideration.
The album begins with “Mr Blues.” Dinsmore takes the lead and he’s in possession of a fine country voice; the sort of voice that’s simultaneously new and yet completely familiar, and comes laden with roots tradition. Rich and warm, I suspect I’d happily listen to him sing the Spice Girls back catalogue, though I hope he doesn’t test the theory. The pair alternate lead vocals, and both provide harmony backing. Callard’s voice is quirkier with more of a bohemian folk edge. The first name that came to mind was Edie Brickell though it’s more of a feel rather than a direct similarity. On “It's Your Night” there’s even a suggestion of Debbie Harry, which to my ears is a very good thing, and it’s a highlight of the set. As is the very last number, a fine uncluttered version of Joe ‘Red’ Hayes and Jack Rhodes’ “A Satisfied Mind,” a song that’s been covered more than most, they manage to find something fresh and new.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by: Leicester Bangs
JUSTIN KREITZER - ATLAS AND THE ANCHOR
If We Could Fall In Love Again
Dinsmore/Callard is the recording moniker of the Austin based Americana music duo of singer-songwriters Rick Dinsmore and Jocelyn “Jos” Callard. Dinsmore who has played alongside Willy Nelson, Townes Van Zandt and Lucinda Williams over the years, has been writing and recording music for years himself, but it wasn’t until he met and started making music with Callard in 2005 that he felt complete. A move from Los Angeles to Austin a year later inspired their music to take a turn toward the country-leaning yet soulful Americana-laced Adult Contemporary folk that makes up their new album If We Could Fall In Love Again, which was just recently self-released on the independent imprint Rider Records. With the duo providing the guitars and vocals, they recruited some of their friends to help shape their ideas in the studio and the album features contributions from bassist and co-producer David Chamberlain, who has also worked with Lyle Lovett and the Pointer Sisters among others; JT Thomas, the keyboardist from Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers also lent his organ and accordion skills to the sessions and renowned studio musician Rich Diamond played drums on the tracks.
The bluesy shuffle of the aptly-titled opening track “Mr. Blues” features an insistent beat and some slick slide guitar provided by guest musician David Vidal. The song also provides an introduction to Dinsmore’s instantly familiar baritone voice and Callard’s sweet, hippie-inflected counterpart. Callard takes the lead on the next track, “Coocoo Crazy” which features psychedelic Doors-like vintage organ freakouts as well as some lively fiddle soloing by the seventeen year old violinist Ruby Jane Smith. This intriguing amalgamation of styles keeps the listener invested and interested in what they may hear next. “Guess Things Happen That Way” follows and is a faithful cover of a classic country & western song written by the legendary “Cowboy” Jack Clement and the duo is at their best blending their voices on the call and response chorus. “Forgive Yourself” is an upbeat and uplifting song with a positive message set to bellowing accordion and their close knit homespun harmonies.
The title track, “If We Could Fall In Love Again” stands out with Callard echoing Dinsmore on the chorus; sounding like Johnny and June on the hopeful track. “Reckless Train” is a tragic ballad with aching vintage organ riffs and each singer taking their turn to lead on the verses. Keeping with the slower pace, the touching ballad “Your Kiss” follows with folksy accordion and some tasteful violin that again blends two styles with country and folk music sharing the stage on this standout track. The Callard-penned and sung “It’s Your Night” is another song with a positive message and a shuffling drum beat. And “Out Loud” is a duet of classic 60’s and 70’s country music proportions that would fit right in on any country radio station. Another standout track, “I Didn’t Listen” showcases the duo’s knack for vivid storytelling while delivering an inspiring message to find your own way in the world as Callard sings about the life of a girl until present day and about the choices she has made that have shaped her life. And before you know it, the eleven track album closes out with the album’s second cover song. This time the duo puts their own unique spin on “A Satisfied Mind” which has famously been covered by other like-minded artists such as The Byrds, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan, but Dinsmore and Callard hold their own with the classic country tune.
With their combined years of experience and their ability and willingness to cross-pollenate different classic American music styles yet maintain an earnest cohesiveness, Dinsmore/Callard have created an inviting and enjoyable slice of country-fried Americana with their excellent new album, If We Could Fall In Love Again.