Playin' in the Minors
We're excited to announce a new release from Don Haynie & Sheryl Samuel, their fourth album, Playin' in the Minors. Assisted by some of the Hudson Valley's best musicians they've crafted a collection that could become a classic of American folk'n'roll. The bandmates assembled for this record have some strong credits of their own, and have worked with some illustrious artists including The Band, Keith Richards, and Livingston, Kate and James Taylor, but they have done some of their best work ever in filling out the arrangements for these songs of life and love from the backroads and smalltowns. Aaron 'Louie' Hurwitz, who engineered, co-produced, and performed on the first two Haynie and Samuel albums (Life in the Circus and Stations), makes some great contributions this time on piano, organ, accordion and other keyboards; Scott Petito, who has worked on an amazing number of records as engineer, producer, and instrumentalist, showed his wide range as a bassist, and also engineered the recording; and Randy Ciarlante, an innovative percussionist and strong, tasteful rock drummer rounded out the basic team. Harvey Kaiser, one of the Hudson Valley's hidden diamonds, graced 'What Was It I Was Looking For?' with some beautiful solo soprano saxophone work, and became (with the help of multi-track recording) a one-man horn section on 'You Sure Do Take a Long Time Saying No', playing baritone and tenor sax; and Larry Packer, whose fiddle added so much to their Stations album, gave his unique melodic touch to 'Once, We Were the Wallendas', lent a mournful, blue note to 'Memo to Morty (the Big Black Car)', and set fire to the rideout of 'The Waitress'. You'd be hard-pressed to find better musicians anywhere, and Don and Sheryl have purposely stuck with the great players that surround their home in Upstate New York, and avoided the distractions of 'cameo' appearances by perhaps better-known performers. With such a good band, and with Don's armada of guitars, this record pays serious homage to some of the best vintage sounds of folk and rock; but it never sounds like anyone else- partly thanks to Sheryl's intriguing percussion touches, and partly thanks to their inimitable vocal duet style, which gives the album their signature sound.. The songs explore themes of hope, disappointment, winning, losing, restlessness, movement, and love, against the background of the small towns, backroads and truckstops, always moving on. 'The story songs are bright with detail...(listening to this CD is) like asking 'Where have all the flowers gone?' and getting a doctoral answer...weirdly-wired alt-folk, but an entirely catchy twist.' Ben Ohmart, MUSICDISH.COM 'From the opening title track they succeed in delivering music that blends rock, bits of country, blues, and folk, focusing in on telling a story...intelligent, musically mesmerizing, and an example of modern real American lyric. All in all this is a strong album that exudes originality...great stories.' A. Canales, THE CRITICAL REVIEW '...incredibly tight harmonies, and Samuel's surprisingly understated percussion complements Haynie's driving rhythm guitar. Samuel's voice is especially distinct and clear...detailed stories of everyday people meeting the challenges of life and loneliness...' DIRTY LINEN.