Gwyneth and Monko Good Old Horse

Gwyneth and Monko Good Old Horse
From off the coast of northern California comes a charming package of rustic sing-alongs and old-timey ballads, courtesy of Gwyneth Moreland and Michael Monko. On the title track about Moreland's childhood horse, her voice takes on a sentimental, childlike tone, while "Lexington Ballad," sung from the perspective of an aging prostitute, finds her using a remorseful tenor, pining for a life that never was. The latter song, which recently received honourable mention at the Woody Guthrie Songwriting competition, showcases Monko's musicianship, as well as Moreland's flair for folk-style storytelling. Wielding his mandolin with a bold, yet gentle, force, Monko expertly weaves in and out of verses, intersecting with his partner in cascading spurts. His contribution to the duo's appeal is most obvious in their interpretation of the centuries-old song "The Cuckoo" (with lyrics from beloved traditional song "Jack O'Diamonds"). Monko's hard rock background fuels a passionate delivery that propels the track forward. If Good Old Horse is a trailer of sorts for their upcoming LP, it certainly has succeeded in what it set out to accomplish. (Independent)