Exposé Online banner

Carolyna Picknick — Le Matin
(Bandcamp TZME 05, 2020, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-12-11

Le Matin Cover art

If you’ve been holding your breath for the last nine years waiting for the second Carolyna Picknick album, you can breathe now: Le Matin is finally here. The group is essentially the duo of multi-instrumentalist Sylvain Carton (here he plays guitar, bass, flute, and clarinet) and Dina Maccabee (violin, mandolin, percussion, and vocal on one track), helped out by accordionists Dan Cantrell (on three cuts) and Marié Abe on one other. That’s it, a lean lineup that gets a lot done musically across these thirteen mostly instrumental tracks. Carton and Maccabee are both members of a number of different musical projects, and both (as well as Abe) were members of that wacky eclectic outfit The Japonize Elephants, who were last heard from on their 2012 album Melodie Fantastique. With Carolyna Picknick their music is a little bit more serious, but every bit as much fun, sort of a happy mash-up of Appalachian bluegrass string band sounds and European old-world traditional music, highly melodic at every turn, and surprisingly enjoyable. If L’Ensemble Rayé had been an American group, this is probably what they would have sounded like. “Sand Dance” is a superb example of a toe-tapper that encompasses an amazing array of ideas that all work well together splendidly, using bass, violin, clarinet and more, and coming in just shy of three minutes. With “A Dance for June” the duo applies some classical influences in triple-time to what comes off as a European folk song, with Abe adding some subtle accordion flavor. The Appalachian influences come to the fore in the gentle swinger “Cup o’ Tea,” while “Mister Slappers” is a full-blown romp through a wonderland of Americana jug-folk led by Cantrell’s accordion. The eerie and introspective beginnings of “La Jetée” give way to a beautiful passage for Maccabee’s powerful wordless vocals as the piece proceeds. The entire album sparkles with warmth, joyful melodies and rhythms — there’s really nothing else quite like it.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Carolyna Picknick

More info

Latest news

New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Strawbs - Deep Cuts & Heartbreak Hill – I don't think even the most rabid Strawbs fan (maybe not me, but I'm close, so I should know) would say these two albums represent the band's peak. That being said, there are still some...  (2007) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues