The album is founded on genuine honky-tonk instrumentation – banjo, fiddle, acoustic and electric guitar – and great harmonies provided by Misha Bower (The Bruce Peninsula), Tamara Lindeman (The Weather Station), and Lisa Bozikovic. Sleep Beneath the Willow has a vintage sound and sterling songs of life, love, morals, and ex-wives, all of which make for a great country song. The opening “Time Forgot (To Change My Heart)” embodies the whole album and shows Romano's range. I particularly like it when he hits his lower register.
And, I'm aware that I have already made a Gram Parsons comparison last week, but on several tracks Romano eerily mirrors Parsons like in “Hard on You” and “Lost (For As Long As I Live).” The folk “Louise” tells a melancholy tale embellished with a lonesome fiddle and what sounds like an organ, while the playful “Hellen's Restaurant” adds fun with some word play. Finally, the album gently closes with retrained yet emotional “Nothing.” It's this song that makes me so happy Romano hasn't sold out. Instead of writing for the music man, Romano is writing songs he can be proud of, songs from the soul with soul. Sleep Beneath the Willow was released on You've Changed Records, the label Romano runs in partnership with Steven Lambke. Read more on Last.fm.
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