The Letting Go –  Natalie Jean & Levi Moore (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

rs=w-400,cg-true,mOn paper this duet from Natalie Jean and Levi Moore may seem to be coming from a very familiar musical place, a gentle balladic country-pop place, rich in harmony and minimalist deliveries. But music doesn’t exist on paper, it exists somewhere between the creator and the listener and whilst it is easy to say that you have heard this all before, I can assure you that you haven’t. You may have heard something similar, something which wanders around the same concept and musical neighbourhood, but The Letting Go sets a wonderful bench mark for such a song style.

Firstly there are the vocals, two exquisite and contrasting voices both getting their moment to shine, Jean tugging at heart strings with a sweet but confident allure, Moore revelling in a rawer baritone and both coming together to make a compelling chorus as their tones and textures mix beautifully. But the songs is  about much more than those voices, great as they are. It takes its time to get moving but gradually builds its musical layers as a platform, building from plaintive piano and minimal guitar rhythms to add beats and additional sonic motifs through a slow and deft build up of additional instruments.

It’s a country record, of sorts, but one which swerves all of the cliches and instead invents its own genre through a bit of musical gene-splicing, part alt-country ballad, part old world folk, part pop. For whilst it is a song which has a country core and even elements that will find favour with the Music City purists, this is a musical coupling less interested in following the rules, at least not to the letter, and therefore doesnt fall into the obvious traps. By and large theirs is a soothing and soulful take on the genre, restrained and delicate and the gently sweeping vocals and lilting banjo’s touch on pastoral bluegrass and bucolic folk as much as they do the traditional country music building blocks. It is also a song which you appreciate more each time you play it…a gift which keeps on giving and that’s for sure!

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