From the north side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania comes the musical duo known as Pierson and Carr. Acoustic guitarist and singer John Carr is the primary songwriter, with his partner Dan Pierson bringing up the rear with his “impromptu and stylistic guitar.” After cutting a mostly live demo in 2020, the pair decided to “try a more industry-standard approach to our first EP, the self-titled Pierson and Carr. Producer Steve Soboslai produced and mixed all five tracks. The song structures are elementary with straightforward lyrics, lending themselves to a loose and fluid live performance.” The duo play everything except for the drums by Cory Muro.
Expanding on their sound, the band states that the EP “has an upbeat flow, layered with melodic guitars and rhythmic lyrics. Songwriter John Carr doesn’t think he has anything profound to say, but the songs and the overall sound are authentic.” Recording took place at Mr. Smalls studio in Pittsburgh, with mastering at Sun Room Audio.
“Running” begins the EP with a laid back, mellow Grateful Dead vibe. It’s primarily acoustic guitar and drums with lots of room reverb. On this song, Carr’s vocals have a similar phrasing and timbre to Peter Gabriel. The full-band sound kicks in sounding big and celebratory, with Pierson’s electric guitar also channeling Jerry Garcia. The compression is a bit heavy but that seems to be the style nowadays.
“Family” takes an immediate U-turn into rockabilly, featuring twangy upbeat guitars and fun, cheese-y organ. Especially nice vocal harmonies here. This song is a real mover, without too many changes in its basic, chug-along structure. “Do It Again” is another upbeat rocker, jam-packed with vocals. I love the bait and switch where you think it’s gonna be a traditional sex rocker, but instead the narrator keeps telling his gal “Listen to me baby: I won’t do it again!” I know that! “Sunday Afternoon” is an insistent blues shuffle with another pleading, world-weary vocal from Carr, while Pierson takes a well-deserved rock solo break. Again the retro-sounding organs add a nice touch.
The title “Make Another Day” reminds me of a misprinted happy face coffee cup I once saw that said “Make A Nice Day” instead of “Have A Nice Day.” I actually preferred the mistake, as it puts the responsibility of having a good day onto the person themselves and not fate. This song is a slower, folky tune with those kinds of sentiments. “Something is always better than nothing… you make it look so easy, you make me feel so good.” Carr’s vocals have a Thunderclap Newman feel, with a quite unique, shimmering background pad. Halfway through, the song evolves into harder rock (though still without drums) and Pierson has a final chance to wail away on his axe.
This is an auspicious beginning for these talented lads and I look forward to seeing where they go in the future!
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