Parker and James are Baton Rouge singer-songwriters whose separate careers have twined for this EP. Written together, and sung in tight harmony, the pair sounds as if theyâ€™ve been duetting since childhood. Though built mostly on folk-styled acoustic guitars, the melodies, mood and Paul Bullerâ€™s pedal steel give the album a country edge. The EP combines five originals with an arrangement of the traditional â€œMoonshiner.â€ The latter has been a staple of the folk scene since the early â€˜60s, and Parker and Jamesâ€™ arrangement brings to mind Simon and Garfunkelâ€™s debut album with both their harmonies and the fragility of Jamesâ€™ solo flights.
The duoâ€™s original material includes the bluesy â€œShowboatinâ€™,â€ whose clever descriptions evoke Richard & Mimi Farinaâ€™s â€œHard Lovinâ€™ Loser.â€ There are disrupted relationships in â€œCome Backâ€ and â€œWhat it Knows,â€ with the latter offering a country reflection of the last chance confusion of Great Big Worldâ€™s â€œSay Something.â€ The set closing â€œAfter the Smoke Clearsâ€ carries a similar mood of dissolution, magnified by the emotional resonance of the paired singing. The quality of Parker and Jamesâ€™ work was certainly foreshadowed by their solo outings, but the charisma of their duets is uniquely mesmerizing. [Â©2016 Hyperbolium]