Who says that classy adult pop is a thing of the past? The California pop-rock sound is in gorgeous full bloom on Jeff Larson and Jeddrah's New Moon, available everywhere today on digital/streaming services as well as physical CD from Japan's Vivid Sound label. The first (but hopefully not the last) full-length collaborative album between the two artists, New Moon is collaborative in every sense.
Larson, a mainstay of the West Coast scene who's worked extensively with America and recently recorded a joint LP with The Beach Boys' Jeffrey Foskett, is primary producer and shares impressively complementary vocals on each track with Jeddrah. The daughter of Eagles and Poco's Timothy B. Schmit, she's appeared on albums from Larson and Schmit (and even handclapped on a Poco record!) and is an accomplished artist in her own right. They've both penned songs for New Moon which mesh well as they reflect on love and heartbreak. Joining the two vocalists are such talented musicians as Hank Linderman, Ryland Steen, and CPR's Jeff Pevar as well as Bob Brozman, Kenny Mitchell, Brian San Marco, Jonathan Mitchell, and Kim Bullard.
The production throughout New Moon is crisp and direct to match the alternately bright and bittersweet melodies, mixed with every word up front. The sparkling sound is established on the opening "Every Hour on the Hour," a chiming rocker in which Jeddrah offers a tight harmony to Jeff's lead and multi-tracked vocals. The arrangements are tight and lean, with no string or brass embellishment. Jeddrah takes the lead on her compositions such as the lyrically pensive but musically soaring "Maybe," with hints of the style of Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow. Her dad drops by on "Maybe" as well as on the biting, Kenny Mitchell-authored "She's the One," and it's clear the apple didn't fall far from the tree when it comes to harmonizing.
Bob Brozman's unusual stringed instruments (including kabosi and resonator guitar) add to the beguiling atmosphere of Larson's intimate "Approaching Midnight" and driving "Point of Rising" on which he plays slide, kabosi, and Ghandharvi. But it's Larson's acoustic guitar which anchors most of these inviting songs. A lively tropical rhythm graces "Don't Make Me Wait" on which he pleads "Give me some sunshine/It's getting late/Send me some sunshine/Anticipate/Where is that sunshine/Don't make me wait." It's one of the album's warmest cuts with another delicious merger of Jeff and Jeddrah's voices.
Jeddrah's urgent "Complaints" likewise rides on a tropically-infused groove, graced by her assertive vocals and rather solid lyrical advice ("Complaints are only stressful and such a waste..."). Larson's slow, sad ballad "See It Fall" is one of the emotional high points of the album as is the song that follows it, his pretty and hopeful "Find Your Way Home." The wistful and affecting "First of April" has the richly melodic sensibility and potent lyrical economy of one of his frequent collaborators, Gerry Beckley. The album proper closes with Jeddrah taking the tender lead on Jeff's "My Angel," featuring Jeff Pevar on mandolin and dobro. But that's not all for New Moon, as one bonus track has been added. "One Good Lie" melds its resonant lyric to a beautifully understated melody and production.
From start to finish, New Moon is a transporting and appealingly varied collection of tunes, from ballads to breezy uptempo romps. They're rendered in California style with strains of mainstream and retro pop, rock, and country. Fans of Eagles, America, and indeed, Larson and Jeddrah's past works (many of which are currently streaming on Spotify and elsewhere) won't want to miss this shimmering, harmony-filled album. It's available today for streaming and download everywhere including Amazon U.S. and Amazon U.K., and below you'll find links to the physical release from Vivid Sound Japan.
- Every Hour on the Hour
- Approaching Midnight
- Don't Make Me Wait
- She's the One
- See It Fall
- Your Way Back Home
- Point of Rising
- First of April
- My Angel
- One Good Lie (Bonus)