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Andy Revkin and Friends - A Very Fine Line (Very Fine Lines)

Star rating: 
3

Here we have an album from one of America's leading writers of scientific and environmental non-fiction. Now, that's a sentence I never thought I'd write. And yet, after hearing the first few tracks on Andy Revkin's A VERY FINE LINE, I feel comfortable enough to assert that it works. Just as Joni can sing Both Sides Now and paint the most exquisite oil paintings, so Andy Revkin can write The Burning Season: The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest and record an album of sweet and often humorous Americana songs.

He's done so with a little help from his friends – Dar Williams appears on Arlington, mandolin master Mike Marshall plays on Song for Lisa and the great Bruce Molsky fiddles about on Black Bird. However, notable friends aside, what really stands out on this record is Andy Revkin's authentic and emotive rootsy voice. The songs themselves showcase Revkin's expertise as a writer of lines that go straight to the heart. Themes such as mining tragedies, American automobiles and even humanity's energy choices are all addressed here, each handled with the care of a seasoned folk musician – it's astounding to think that this is Andy's debut album.
 
So, move aside New York Times – Andy's journalistic home between 1995 and 2009 – here we have a most versatile and original American voice who, whether it be via page or speaker, really ought to be heard.

Liam Wilkinson
Northern Sky