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CD REVIEW

SONGS FROM A ROCKING CHAIR
The Quiet American
Aaron & Nicole Keim (©2014), CD Baby

In this latest release from the Quiet American, Aaron and Nichole Keim create the feel of sitting on a rustic back porch in a comfortable rocking chair listening to music both relaxing and stimulating. This is a far cry from their previous excellent recording, Wild Bill Jones, set around a murder ballad; in this recording no one dies – everyone relaxes and has a good time.


All the songs and tunes have a traditional old-time feel, although most are originals. Aaron and Nicole’s voices are well articulated and understandable, and blend together well in their duets. The instrumental backup consists of mostly ukulele, banjo and accordion, which gives a light and cheerful feel to their music. And their arrangements reflect the rural environment of their home along the Columbia River in Oregon.

The recording begins with the traditional Starry Crown (Chased Old Satan Through the Door) as a duet by Aaron and Nicole with banjo. This nicely sets the tone for the rest of the CD. Next are two original songs: Worth a Million, another duet with a cheerful ukulele and accordion accompaniment; and Carroll County Blues, a country feel with thumping bass and steel guitar. This is followed by an original instrumental, Roxy’s Waltz, a ukulele duet, which has a nice calming effect.

Next is Ingrid Bergman, sung by Nicole, a Woody Guthrie song set to music by Billy  Bragg. Fire In The Sky by Andrew Kinsey is a sad lament with an old-time feel in modal harmony and lone banjo. The mood is quickly picked up with a bouncy jug band song, Mobile Line, and Charley Patton’s Some These Days I'll Be Gone. This is followed by a nice arrangement of Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More well sung by Nicole with Aaron’s banjo accompaniment.

The CD concludes with another original Keim song, Carved Into My Heart, with a country feel; Garden Medley, a set of original Keim instrumentals; and the traditional Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet, a vocal duet with accordion and ukulele.

This is a fine recording by Aaron and Nicole Keim, one of their best in my opinion. Additional musicians include Ben Bonham on Harmonica and steel guitar, and Ronnie Ontiveros on bass.

Stewart Hendrickson