wed 25/11/2020

CD: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell - Love Has Come For You | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell - Love Has Come For You

CD: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell - Love Has Come For You

A captivating and beautiful album featuring songs that are strongly narrative-driven

'Love Has Come For You': bucketloads of charm

Steve Martin has a number of strings to his bow: comedian, actor, playwright, novelist, screenwriter  and – who knew? – banjo player. And if you need any convincing, his 2010 release The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, won a Grammy for best bluegrass album.

Steve Martin has a number of strings to his bow: comedian, actor, playwright, novelist, screenwriter  and – who knew? – banjo player. And if you need any convincing, his 2010 release The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, won a Grammy for best bluegrass album.

It’s in this capacity that he’s collaborated with Edie Brickell, formerly of The New Bohemians, with whom she had a major hit with single "What I Am" way back in 1988. Aside from raising a family, the intervening years have been quiet, but some off-radar musical collaborations include those with Harper Simon (she’s married to his dad, Paul), and forming a band with veteran Paul Simon drummer Steve Gadd.  

All this is by way of saying that you really shouldn't come to this album expecting a throwaway vanity project. Love Has Come For You is captivating and beautiful and features songs that are strongly narrative-driven and deeply, warmly evocative. Wistful and playful by turns, it also has bucketloads of sweet Southern charm. Martin and Brickell are both native Texans and their love of bluegrass shines through on all 13 tracks, for which Martin wrote the music and Brickell the lyrics.

Brickell is a gifted songwriter, and simplicity is one of her gifts. Many of the songs, which are really more folky than strictly bluegrass, have a timeless quality, like lullabies with an ancient folk history but updated with the odd contemporary reference. In the opening track "When You Get to Asheville", she urges a former sweetheart to write her an email from wherever he’s going, while "Get Along Stray Dog" conjures a scene that feels almost raucously antebellum. In the title track a woman keeps her illegitimate baby despite the urgings of her family to give him up, and the refrain, "Love has come for you", has the inevitability of fate.

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but perhaps it’s the irresistible "Sarah Jane and the Iron Mountain Baby", which tells the strange tale of a baby boy thrown from a train in a suitcase and rescued by a man who delivers the new-born to his wife.

Brickell’s sensual vocals are delivered with a breathy Texan lilt, while Martin’s banjo picking sounds soft and unobtrusive. Produced by Peter Asher (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond) Martin is backed by a chamber string orchestra and guitar, though the overall sound is pared down. It’s gorgeous in every way.

Fisun Guner on Twitter

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell perform "When You Get to Asheville" on the David Letterman Show 

Many of the songs have a timeless quality, like lullabies with an ancient folk history but updated with the odd contemporary reference

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters