Annie Capps said the music on this album was wide-ranged and she was right but there is a theme, at least in my head, for Searching For Neverland which drags me back to not only the folk music scene of the early- to late-seventies but my childhood. Call it a feeling or something in my subconscious, but I've heard pieces of it before. And I liked it. Annie and Rod Capps have this cord reaching all the way back to, of all places, the music of many of those old Walt Disney series such as Zorro and Davy Crockett. Just enough to make my ears take notice. They also cover the bluegrass and folk years during which jazz made an impact, and even thirties and forties swing. Never all at once but in little clumps and always just far enough beneath the surface to make me listen again and again.
While I had heard about Annie and Rod Capps many times over the past few years, I had never heard their music and what a surprise it is! For one thing, this is not just Annie and Rod though core they may be. This album is recorded by a band of musical forces which include mandolinist Jason Dennie of the band Thunderwude (great band name, that), bassist Dan Ozzie Andrews (Cold Tone Harvest--- another class name), drummer Michael Shimmin (the olllam--- what is it about these midwesterners and their ability to find band names), a second drummer--- Pete Siers of the Paul Keller Orchestra, and Drew Howard, pedal steel player with Madcat's Midnight Blues Journey. Add what I assume is Rod's exceptionally tasty guitar and Annie's tasty voice and you have something.
Every time I listen to this, I experience a Freudian Slipknot in that Geoff Michael, who engineered the album, reads Geoff Muldaur in my head because the band also reminds me here and there of Geoff and Maria in their early folk phase. I lived in San Diego in the mid-seventies and Seattle in the late-seventies and early-eighties and I miss the days of Folklife and the Folklife festivals which happened yearly. I miss the days of Jim Post and Jim Page and Reilly & Maloney and Jim Ringer & Mary McCaslin. I miss the easygoing folkiness of those times and that music. If Annie and Rod had begun there, they would have been superstars.
Favorites right off the bat are “Pretty Memories,” a throwback to the fifties with almost Sons of the Pioneers-style background vocals and a reverbed electric guitar; “Searching For Neverland,” a country-ish ballad charmer which could easily have been placed in an old Western movie; “Better Off,” one of the marginally Disney-esque tunes mentioned earlier; “Promises,” a folk/country tune which sounds very 2000 or so to me; “Mighty Short Trip,” which Maria Muldaur could have recorded on any of her albums. “We're Still Here.” though, tops them all, having that vampish full-on jazz/folk sound made exceptional by a little light mandolin. It's a beaut.
According to my research, Annie and Rod made quite a mark with their 2009 outing, My Blue Garden. Unfortunately, I completely missed it. Fortunately, it is not too late. That's where I am going as soon as I put this to bed. Consider it bedded. Catch you later.