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Kacy & Clayton

Strange Country – 2016 (New West)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Kacy & Clayton

It comes as a surprise that a 19- and 21-year-old are already on their third album. And the fact that these second cousins hail from remote southern Saskatchewan, Canada about five hours from everywhere makes it still harder to believe that they've developed the musical depth of a seasoned veteran at such a young age (FYI - their online connectivity was spotty at best).

Small town kids Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum - better known as Kacy & Clayton - have quickly established themselves as serious performers who can already draw comparisons to the likes of Kate Breslin and Jody Stecher. With an appealing blend of English folk, Southern Appalachia and a little early Pink Floyd psychedelia for good measure.

They love to sing about faraway places - well, far from Saskatchewan. "The Rio Grande" has a straight-on folk vibe and "The Plains of Mexico" is based on an old sea shanty that features Clayton's deft picking as their vocals intertwine on the tale of Santianno - Mexican general Santa Ana. "Over the River Charlie," another traditional number, finds Clayton strumming behind Kacy's haunting vocals of a dandy's attempt to court a poor, innocent young lass. "Brunswick Stew" reveals a small-town covered-up unwanted pregnancy, with Clayton's deft picking and backing vocals as Kacy reveals a the dark, lurid tale. Kacy's trippy, Grace Slick-like vocals on "Springtime of the Year" celebrates what must be a joyous time for folks as far north as they are.

Shuyler Jansen's sparse, simple production smartly showcases the pair's burgeoning talents. And with an international folk rock scene that refuses to die, the unassuming young cousins from north of the border who happily played Sunday nights at the local old folks home indeed have plenty of room to grow.