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article by: Michael Canter

21 April 2012

CD Review - Dog Days Comin'/In The Dead Of Summer by Desi and Cody

"This is what it might have sounded like if June Carter and Johnny Cash had made a studio album with The Beatles. The music is an eclectic blend of folk, rock, and country with just enough pop familiarity to bring anyone along for the ride."
~ Brian Horton

Release Date: 09-December-2011
Genre: New Folk / Bluegrass / Indie Rock
Publisher: [c] 2011 Desi and Cody/White Mountain Music
Label: Horton Records
Time: 37m 28s
Review Date: 21-April-2012
Format: CD
Jivewired Press Kit: http://jivewired.com/desiandcody

Find it at:

Artist Website | Horton Records | iTunes

Track Listing (Dog Days Comin'):

01. Dog Days Comin'  (feat. Desirae Roses) 2:43
02. Black Clad Girl 3:59
03. Lipstick and a Gun 3:15
04. The Call (feat. Desirae Roses) 3:32
05. Who Are You Trying To Fool? 4:33

Track Listing (In The Dead Of Summer):

01. In The Dead Of Summer 4:08
02. Western Medicine Lullaby 2:56
03. Whiskey Under the Wine 3:44
04. Fable 3:03
05. Get So Lonely 4:04
06. Oh Baby 1 1:31


Though this review covers two distinct releases, for all intents and purposes we'll call the entire two-disc package a collaborative effort by Cody Clinton and Desirae Roses.  Said package is a wonderful amalgamation of new-folk music with touches of blues, bluegrass, alt-country and indie rock that will easily captivate you, and beneath the covers you'll find the slightest hint of pop and classic rock influences.   Herein you'll discover a veritable treasure of wonderful music that features pitch-perfect harmonies embedded in sublime arrangements with nary a weak track.

The title track on Dog Days Comin' features Desi on vocal accompaniment.  It's got a somewhat early British Invasion skiffle-like feel to it intertwined with an almost cosmic Americana arrangement that compares favorably to the Gram Parsons-Emmylou Harris sessions on GP and Grievous AngelDog Days Comin' finds the duo blending uptempo passion with detailed balance that portends to the ambitious vision that would eventually define the individuals as a legitimate duo musically.  The harmonies are impeccable and I imagine that after this recording there was this light bulb moment by all involved that screamed "damn, this REALLY works."  You can almost feel the smiles generated by the finished product.  Dog Days Comin' is a great song.

The rest of the album paints a somewhat darker, brooding portrait that leans heavily on a more traditional blues and classic country-rock foundation.  Lipstick and a Gun has a flat-out, stone cold desperado vibe that's a step back in time.  Low energy bass lines and understated percussion give way to a hypnotic arrangement laced in paced, seething guitar and aching vocals.  Lipstick and a Gun offers a complete classic rock feel that hooks on the opening five measures and bubbles, simmers and burns going forward.

Black Clad Girl is another standout song with a country-rock feel that allows Cody to showcase his proficiency on both steel guitar and mandolin.  This is easily my favorite song on the Dog Days Comin' EP and is Cody's strongest effort vocally.  He hits his low register without force or break and he nails his high register in similarly effortless fashion, demonstrating an unexpected wider range in comparison with the other songs on the disc.  It's a fine example of the strengths of the entire disc: pristine arrangements, excellent sound quality and precise musicianship.  The entire package is knee-buckling good.

It doesn't take long to get addicted to Desi & Cody's song In The Dead Of Summer.  In fact, you'll be hooked before the end of your first listen.  I was.

The title track to the couple's second release brings Desi to the forefront vocally and offers a more uptempo sound as compared to Cody's earlier release.  But what really makes In The Dead Of Summer so amazing is an almost sinful blues/rock bridge that starts at 1m 50s in. The duo basically slams on the brakes and Cody pounces to the forefront musically.  Cody's guitar marinates in a roux of harmonica/Hammond B3 interplay that is simply white hot.  That bridge is what our grandparents called sinner's music and it's a fine example in the finest sense of the definition.  Add Desi's torrid vocals to the mix and you're simply cooked.  Go to confessional after listening if you must, but listen again and again.

Western Medicine Lullaby offers another example of Desi's consummate vocal ability and the result is an immaculately crafted folk-pop song.  Here the duo constructs an indelible pop offering on a foundation of calculated, but slight tempo changes, diverse layering, magical hooks and glistening instrumentation that shows an astute maturity and range.  Desi's pitch-perfect vocals and range are resplendent.  Western Medicine Lullaby is a sunny, stunningly warm effort that raises the bar ridiculously high for folk-driven indie pop.

Like almost everything else on this two-disc collaboration, Whiskey Under The Wine is dangerously addictive as well.  It's easy to say that when impeccable production matches similarly exquisite talent then the result is obvious, so there's that.  Desi and Cody are resolute in musical familiarity but subtle nuances throughout both discs keep things fresh.  This song is a fine example.  Adding steel guitar and other musical accoutrements into it's fabric, as well as accompanying vocals from Cody, coalesces Whiskey Under The Wine into one beautiful, melodic drive. 

In fact, as a whole, the entire collaboration is almost too damn intoxicating.  There's enough diversity between the two discs to keep the listening experience fresh.  As I stated earlier, the precise  production and inimitable sound quality makes the entire package of Dog Days Comin' and In The Dead Of Summer nearly peerless, but it is the talent of Desi and Cody that is the strength of the duo's output. The two maintain baroque and eclectic artistic values which lead each song's arrangement.  Nothing is presented in pedestrian fashion and there are no burner or filler songs designated to fill space.  What you get between both releases is just under 40 minutes of very, very good music.

About Desi and Cody:

The Tulsa duo Desi and Cody combine folk-inspired bluegrass melodies with a rock based sound, creating one-of-a-kind music that leaves you wanting more.

Cody Clinton set out to make a solo album after his band, Cody Clinton and The Bishops had gone on hiatus due to the fact that Bishops guitarist Beau Charron was hired to tour with the legendary Leon Russell Band.  Cody was looking to leave behind the quasi-commercial power-pop sound he had pursued with the Bishops.  Instead he sought to show a darker side of his musical self, to explore a more obscure valley of folk that he had always meant to venture into but perhaps wasn't ready until he was put into the position of the solo artist.  Knowing he needed something to complement his raw and sometimes ragged vocals, he called on Portland native Desirae Roses to sing harmony on two of the songs on his debut Solo EP Dog Days Comin'.

Desirae Roses, who had up to this point never sang professionally, has a smoky sultry voice wrapped in a dark cloud of honesty.  Combining the sexier side of female jazz vocals with the funner side of classic country, Desi's voice has a pied piper quality that is intensely captivating and powerful.   Desi has the natural ability to perform and command an audience with not only the shimmering beauty of her voice but also with her infectious personality.  The combination worked so well they found themselves performing together nearly every night under the moniker "Desi and Cody."   Desi has recently finished recording her solo EP  In the Dead of Summer which is the logical conclusion to the much awaited Desi and Cody LP.  

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