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Kacy & Clayton

Carrying On – 2019 (New West)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Kacy & Clayton

Granted, their name brings to mind an old cops buddy TV series from the 1990s, but a close glance at the cover of their album "Carrying On" reveals a couple who genuinely appear as if they just emerged from the hillsides of Laurel Canyon. Indeed, their boy-girl symmetry is more befitting some sun-speckled idyllic image of Southern California circa 1969, the glow of. innocence still evident in their stealth-like gaze.

Five albums on, the Canadian duo, which consists primarily of second cousins Clayton Linthicum on guitar, keyboards and vocals and Kacy Anderson on vocals and guitars, still retain that starry-eyed innocence inherent in the minimalist sounds they've embraced since the beginning. Having Jeff Tweedy in the producer's chair - a position he last occupied during the making of 2017's Juno-nominated effort, "The Siren's Song" - boosts their notoriety and, to a certain extent, their profile, but the day-glo sensibility that's at the essence of their sound still dominates the mix. Songs such as "The Forty-Ninth Parallel, "Spare Me Over One More Year" and "That Sweet Orchestra Sound" find a midway point somewhere between the cerebral and the celebratory without any overt attempt to sway the listener either way.

Of course, that lofty approach mostly has to do with Anderson's somewhat precious posture, and even though she gives up the lead on "High Holiday" and "The South Saskatchewan River," the paisley and patchouli don't dissipate to any great degree. That sense of innocence and naivete is unavoidably present throughout, an obvious factor when it comes to sharing their fanciful charms. So too, the combined echoes of folk, Americana and twee pop sensibilities make any attempt to dismiss them as unseemly as rooting for Scrooge over Tiny Tim during a holiday replay "The Christmas Carol." It's with that in mind that the listener will be prone to cheer "Carrying On."

Lee Zimmerman is a freelance writer and author based in Maryville, Tenn. He also expounds on music on his web site, Stories Beyond the Music - Americana Music Reviews, Interviews & Articles. His book - Americana Music - Voices, Visionaries and Pioneers of an Honest Sound - is available from Texas A&M University Publishing.