Britchy, Missoula’s acoustic Americana duo, has released its newest collaboration. It features Richie Reinholdt on oodles of guitars, bass, banjo and mandolin, and Britt Arnesen on acoustic guitar and bass. The songwriters share singing duties on their compositions, spicing them with signature tight-knit harmonies.
The songs span lots of country styles, enhanced by guest musicians on selected cuts. Reinholdt’s other Acousticals bandmate, Chad Fadely, adds mandolin; Larry Chung, fiddle and pedal-steel guitar; Bob Knetzger, steel; Tom Wolverton, Dobro and steel; and Isaac Callender, fiddle. Emily Emmons offers a harmony vocal on Arnesen’s “Got Your Back.”
The album opens with Reinholdt’s ballad, “Skeeter,” from one of his many earlier albums, Shelf Life. He picks a fluid guitar riff before Arnesen sings lead. It’s about a thieving addict who comes to an untimely but predictable end.
His “Pirates” has a thumpin’ bass for that old-time sound, and he plays a “Bonanza”-style riff with lots of reverb as he sings.
Arnesen’s “Crybaby” has a bluesy feel. She sings to her sulking lover who’s having a tantrum. Her lead vocal is shadowed in unison by Reinholdt’s guitar work, before he launches into a bunch of cool bent notes, crisp and light. It’s got great lyrics too: “… And take your hundredth second chance, you’re lucky I love you, now go to bed.”
Reinholdt’s banjo-y “Poison” is a bluegrass loper with a hint of “Thunder Road” in the chorus. Sweet fiddle, tasty mandolin and some rollin’ banjo licks accompany this one. Next comes Arnesen’s song about first love, “Man on My Moon,” with its slowly rockin’ ’60s chords.
The duo’s creations mesh well in both melody and lyric writing. Their vocal ranges are similar; Reinholdt’s tenor complements Arnesen’s soft mid-range sound. It’s Americana, all right.
– Mariss McTucker