The Possum people have released two previous well received CDs and this one continues their tradition of folk, bluegrass, jug, country rock and allied forms. The band is newly a five-piece, formerly a trio, and roots itself in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The main exponents are Susie Saraci and John Minton, who split their songwriting duties democratically, sharing the disc's tracks equally.
Close to Leaving is an interesting piece, basing itself in recognition of mistakes made and new horizons charted. The tone is simultaneously angry and wistful, striking very close to what every discontented dreamer has experienced more than a few times in his or her life. The follower, Night Crow Blues, works up an extremely infectious rhythm, rolling along like a wagon train groovin' in the afternoon sun. Then comes the balladic Joe, with Susie Suraci laying out the sadness of lost love, in which the harmony vocal chorus sends chills up the spine.
The engineering, however, doesn't quite do the music the full service it deserves, a trifle hazy in separations and frequency capture but is certainly more than adequate for enjoyment. The band has a knack for developing themes and extrapolating them into engaging extensions of melody. At times. though, John Minton's lead vocals are weak, as in So Glad You Went Away, robbing the song of its intended punch. In fact, the vocal element is the sole aspect of an otherwise great release that this band needs to work on, as the instrumental portion is superb. Susie's singing works by far the best—check out Dry Dry Dry—but even she fails to keep things humming 100% of the time. With this aspect, and the tech foibles, remedied in the next CD, Possum Trot Orchestra will finally take its place in the sun as a prime contender. It's already pounding on the door.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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