To simply call it folk music is dismissive: Whenever trio member Perry Cleaveland steps in with his mandolin and makes with the rhythm changes, he exudes just a hint of southern charm. Bassist Doug Henrie holds down the bottom end of the rhythm like a hug from a teddy bear that just got out of the dryer, and on “In Case You Haven’t Noticed,” the harmonies between Gillard and guest performer Rita Coulter are full of comfort.
“How Did We Get Here,” the song Gillard contributed to the concert showcase If All Rochester Wrote the Same Song, is also worth highlighting. “How Did We Get Here” is a poignant poem that asks the question, “Where did it all go?” Well, it’s all right here on “Always Love,” an album overflowing with Gillard’s songwriting talent.
Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.