Dirty Linen - p.54
"Arbo's buoyant alto voice lifts the proceedings, and her fiddle flavors the edges. Rounding out the sound are Anand Nyak on guitar and Andrew Kinsey on upright bass."
Rani Arbo: Rani Arbo; Scott Kessel (unknown instrument); Anand Nayak, Andrew Kinsey.
Personnel: Rani Arbo (vocals, guitar, fiddle); Andrew Kinsey (vocals, guitar, banjo); Anand Nayak (vocals, guitar, mandolin, piano); Scott Kessel (vocals, drums); Kevin Barry (guitar, lap steel guitar); Rose Sinclair (banjo, accordion); Ben Ross (harmonica).
Additional personnel: Ben Ross, Indra Rios-Moore, Deb Pasternak, Polly Fiveash (vocals); Rose Sinclair, Kevin Barry.
Audio Mixer: Chris Rival.
Recording information: Middleville, North Reading, MA.
Unknown Contributor Role: Scott Kessel.
Big Old Life is an album bursting with fun and exuberance, the quartet known as Daisy Mayhem balancing a tight sound with spirit that translates perfectly through stereo headphones. "Joy Comes Back," a song composed by Sean Staples of the band the Resophonics (a group with Paul Kochanski of the Swinging Steaks to give the reader a point of reference) opens this terrific blend of old and new sounds with something that can only be described as gospel music played at a hootenanny. Deb Pasternak, Polly Fiveash, Rose Sinclair and Indra Rios-Moore all add to the backing vocals, which make it sound like a big old party, as much as a big old life. And speaking of the title track, Loretta Lynn would be proud of this Arbo original, Anand Nayak's smart guitar playing halfway to Hawaii, the hootenanny morphing into a luau. The traditional "Red Haired Boy," with lyrics by Rani Arbo, is an interesting role reversal while the cover of "Thief" gives the music a 180, bluesy and deep, an eloquent change of pace from the incessant up-tempo "mayhem." Leonard Cohen's "Heart with No Companion" has Andrew Kinsey's banjo front and center with Arbo's fiddle falling in and rounding out the mood. Bob Dylan's "Farewell, Angelina" has an interesting production by the band and Chris Rival, harmonica from Ben Ross and the fiddle-gone-wild giving Zimmerman something different to think about. The cardboard fold-out cover is chock-full of pictures like the band is auditioning for a Beatles or Herman's Hermits film, photos with smiles that reflect the very polished and exciting work within. In the '80s and '90s Boston had a regional act called Country Bumpkin which had the buzz and were a favorite for quite some time. Daisy Mayhem fill that void nicely while front woman Rani Arbo proves she could be the Kitty Wells of the new millennium by delivering this heartfelt disc which is very deserving of your time and ear. ~ Joe Viglione