Out of the Tangled Years

Steve & Kristi Nebel

(IB 9401)
Icebird Records
5109 Pt. Fosdick Dr. NW #E155
Gig Harbor, WA 98335

A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Blanche Johnson (GZVS92A@prodigy.com)

Never having heard of Steve and Kristi Nebel (pronounced Knee-bull), I was not sure what I would hear when I put "Out of the Tangled Years" into my CD player. I was delighted by a refreshing surprise - sort of a "Tom Paxton meets The B52's" sound! The disc contains fourteen sketches of a wide variety of everyday people, from suburban housewives to urban youth, from starving artists to homebound fishermen. The range of lifestyles depicted is equaled by the broad range of musical styles employed. The bouncy, punk flavored music-for-the-fun-of-it in the opening track, "Listening to Music with the Vacuum Cleaner On" contrasts vividly against the more traditional, nostalgic wistfulness of "The Tangled Years", which in turn is every bit as different from the rolling country western melodies of "Stereo Rain" or "Bohemian Outback". Then there is the wonderful, complementary contrast of Kristi's strong, clear voice with Steve's softer, more rough around the edges strains. All the songs are infinitely danceable, with clean, simplicity (for the most part) of lyric and rhythm that I found to be reminiscent of early sixties' rock'n'roll.


All of the songs were written by Steve Nebel with the exception of "Sorority Girls", co-written by Kristi Nebel and "We're Comin' In", co-written by Tom Rysstad, a singer-songwriter from British Columbia. The instrumentation includes electric keyboards and guitars, as well as a liberal dose of drums mixed in with the usual acoustic guitars and some tasty piano. The band, however, never overpowers the clean, clear vocals. Steve and Kristi have done an excellent job presenting a mixture of traditional and contemporary singer-songwriter styles that anyone who appreciates variety can really sink their teeth into. I, for one, am glad that the Nebels found their way "Out of the Tangled Years"!

This review is copyright, 1995 Three Rivers Folklife Society.
It may be reprinted with prior written permission and attribution.

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