Sound — 9
The influx of Australian artists surfacing on the scene of Americana and roots rock is not an anomaly but when they play these styles with more genuine fervor than their brethren from regions where this music is believed to be founded, it is time for the mentor to learn from the pupil. This is particularly true for singer-songwriter-guitarist Marisa Yeaman whose third offering "Voices From The Underground" released by her label Deep Pearl Records is a melting pot of country, folk, and acoustic rock. The ground work for her melodies is reflective of the likes of John Prine and Luka Bloom, yet entirely modern in its texture. The countrified ambience in Yeaman's guitar riffage through "Age Of Discovery" is imbued with a dulcet groove etched in the chord progressions which is gratifying for anyone longing for inner peace. There is a vulnerable edge in the strumming along "Love Will Keep Me Warm" glossed in layers of Carl Dedic's slide guitar and Dean Matters's brushed drum pulses threading into the soft rippling tresses of keyboardists Matty Vehl and Garrett Costigan. The caressing motions are reminiscent of the mollified musings of bluegrass maven Alison Krauss, while the malleable movements of Dave Steel's and Grant Cumberford's guitars in "Nighthawks Lament" produce a smoke screen as Tristan Ludowjk's ghostly trumpet pierces through its sheath. The inflections made by the slide guitar along "Nightingale" create a smoldering echo besides Yeaman's vocals which form creases that align with the rhythmic pattern. The prairieland atmospherics of "Grace's Ghost" and "Montmartre Tonight" are hewn with classic folk tones, and the bold strokes of the bass along "For Sale" surge with a pounding that acts as a buoy for Yeaman's vocals. The country twang reverberating through "Galileo" has a vintage bluegrass hue, and the doubling of high and low pitched chords moving parallel along "Roadcase Blues" shapes into an elegant symphony of guitars enabling Yeaman's soft ramblings to have a refined gait blanketed in bucolic acoustics.
Lyrics — 9
Yeaman's lyrics course through a myriad of emotions. In "Straggler In The Human Race", she looks inward, "I don't hunger for money / I don't care much for fame / I'd be out here doing this if you never knew my name / I'm just trying to live my life in authenticity and grace / Forgive me if I seem to be a straggler in the human race". Other times, her narrations sheds light on her lifestyle like in "Roadcase Blues" as she describes, "Lonely nights and roads just trying to get through / That's how you get the roadcase blues / Pursuit of perfection / The truth in a song that drives the day when the night gets long / It sure ain't the money / But it burns like a fuse / Guess it's just the roadcase blues". And still other times, Yeaman sings in metaphors like in "Galileo" as she reflects, "Galileo, oh don't say those things you know aren't true / Though we're not the center of the universe / You're the keeper of the sun and the moon".
Overall Impression — 9
A brood of heartland folk, grassroots country, and acoustic rock gives "Voices From The Underground" a genuine feel. Yeaman knows her way around these styles as if she was weaned on them from birth. "Voices From The Underground" is the follow up to Yeaman's 2008 sophomore disc "Roadmap Heart" and her 2005 debut recording "Pure Motive". Yeaman's album is more than a representation of music from the outback, but on a global scale, it is music that audiences with home in their hearts can identify with and feel like it speaks to them.