EP REVIEW: Dana & Lauren (4 Song EP Sampler)
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Dana & Lauren
Bluegrass, Country, Americana
Well known Bluegrass duo Dana & Lauren (formerly The Skankman Twins) release their attest EP entitled California Love in 2010. Combining their powerful musical gifts, love of bluegrass & country music & natural sibling chemistry, they became a major sensation starting in their teens. This duo is no stranger to the Music Business either with their impressive biography & impressive networking. They continue to be a major draw at major music festivals around the country & have appeared many times at the Grand Old Opry.
The CD kicks things off with “Chasing Trains” an impressive intro piece that serves up impressive country western dance groove against amazing vocals, harmonies, & impressive musicianship to boot with a grand slam chorus. This first track is quite impressive as it peaks and valleys its way through musical fruition. Just when you think you go this due figured out – here comes a bluegrass, banjo & fiddle version of 2Pac & Dr. Dre’s “California Love.” This song feels like uncharted territory & is quite compelling in many marketable aspects. Track 3 “Song to My Heart” is a delightful ballad with driving country rhythm, well placed fiddle accents & emotional vocal delivery from Dana & Lauren. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical influences reminiscent of classic Dixie Chicks, with just a splash of The Judds. The music itself is a delightful blend of Bluegrass, Country, & Rockabilly Blues that goes down extremely smooth song for song, note for note. The most impressive thing about this EP is the musicianship & passionate vocal delivery from Dana & Lauren. The vocal timber of Dana & Lauren are to say the least impressive, & right on the money. They both take some rather impressive vocal risks throughout the production indicating to me a very strong & confident vocal ability. The CD offers a rich melodic vocal foundation, coupled with lush layers of instrumentation. From Pedal Steel, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, fiddles, & lush harmonies. I would classify this music as Easy Rock, Country Western, with just a dash of Bluegrass Americana served hot on the side. The EP ends with “Dreams & Fireflies” the perfect finale piece for a CD of this caliber.
The build on “California Love” is quite amazing – but then it kind of fizzles out & doesn’t go anywhere after that. At the end of the day it feels like it’s missing something – Like maybe a grand slam chorus or another part. Perhaps they should have covered Snoop Dog's "Gin & Juice" instead. Also perhaps (1) more song is needed to really seal the deal for me on this EP.
From start to finish “California Love” is an impressive EP from Dana & Lauren. From start to finish it’s very passionate, & extremely melodic in nature. To say the least it's packed to the hilt with musical variety. The writing, playing, & singing abilities of these gals is impressive, & will be sure to lift your spirits without even trying. As the EP progressed I became more and more impressed with it. The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. I look forward to hearing the full length later on this Summer.