Written by Samuel Barker
Feb 08, 2014 at 08:00 AM
ImageFor years, I held a pretty strong prejudice against the “married couple” bands. Normally, they were gimmicky groups filled with bad duets advertising the fact that they were a married couple. However, in recent years, those feelings have faded as more musicians have gravitated towards each other in music and romantic ways. In fact, many of the bands I enjoy these days have connections outside of just playing in the same group of musicians. The Grahams are definitely a band that could find their way into that list.

Outside of the information that Alyssa and Doug Graham have been sweethearts from their youth and eventually married included in their press list and their impressive ability to harmonize together, the information never really serves any purpose outside of an interesting piece of trivia and an explanation of the band’s name.

As the story attached to the album goes, the Grahams holed up on a house boat along the Atchafalaya in Louisiana and worked out the songs that comprise Riverman’s Daughter. The themes and sounds of Louisiana and the south come alive in the compositions, despite the Grahams being New Yorkers. Their ability to relate the sound, the spirit and the tales of the region make all those old Pace Picante commercials look downright dumb.

All jokes aside, this album is pretty solid from start to finish. Alyssa’s vocals are able to touch on ragtime shuffles, country crooning and mellow blues. The instrumentation is ample, but not overpowering. It allows the stories told in the songs to shine while accentuating the mood. And, as I mentioned before, Doug’s harmonizing blends perfectly throughout the album.

I had missed this album when it was initially released, but now it has been pushed back out with bonus tracks, including a great live interpretation of Neil Young’s Down by the River. This is something definitely worth popping in, hitting repeat and relaxing on a weekend morning, as long as you’re fine with stopping what you’re doing ever so often to admire the work of The Grahams.