Kacy & Clayton and Marlon Williams Find Organic Beauty with 'Plastic Bouquet'

Kacy & Clayton and Marlon Williams Find Organic Beauty with 'Plastic Bouquet'
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Here's a Commonwealth collaboration of three of the brightest talents in roots music. Saskatchewan folk duo Kacy & Clayton — cousins Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum — have struck up both a musical and personal friendship with New Zealand troubadour Marlon Williams. Together, the trio grabbed some time together a couple years ago in Saskatoon to lay down Plastic Bouquet.

The album is built around the contrasting yet complementary voices of Anderson and Williams. The former has a pure folk-rooted sound, while the Kiwi has a more expansive and eclectic style. There is plenty of variety in the vocal arrangements of the tunes, with Anderson and Williams taking turns on lead, swapping verses and harmonizing in sweet fashion. You'll occasionally be reminded of the work of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris — never a bad thing.

The pair trade verses on "Old Fashioned Man" — a retro country tune embellished by pedal steel and walking bass, while Williams' rich and buttery voice is neatly showcased on a couple of album highlights, "I Wonder Why" and "Arahura." Anderson takes charge on "Your Mind's Walking Out" and the moving title track, a poignant tribute to car crash victims that evokes "a cross by the highway with the plastic bouquet." Clocking in at just under two minutes, "I'm Unfamiliar" seems a mite under-developed. Linthicum's multi-instrumental accompaniment throughout is both tasteful and effective.

In its entirety, the collaborative effort is compelling; Plastic Bouquet is the furthest thing from a plastic collection. (New West)