Like a breath of warmer spring air, the opening, chiming strums of “Wake Me When Tomorrow’s Here”, the first track on George Usher and Lisa Burns’ The Last Day Of Winter could not be more apt. Pure shimmering pop from these two long-time fixtures in New York shines brightly on these twelve songs that deal with some very serious themes. Lyrically penned by George Usher at a time when he was battling cancer and unable to play any instruments, the music was skilfully composed by Lisa Burns and fits everything together perfectly. Their voices blend equally well and everything about this album is right, considering what went behind its creation. Add to the fact that the production is top notch (by Usher and Burns) and mixed by the masterful Eric “Roscoe” Ambel and you have pure beauty.
“Depression Glass” has a spiritual, soulful feel – acoustic and mournful (“…to a wicked room of enemies/with bitter bibles on their knees…”); “More That I Cannot Say” has radio hit written all over it, with its melodic highs and lulls, builds and drops and has a wonderful country vibe and “My Precious Wisdom” is a honky-tonk piano driven upbeat number that reminds me of the poppier things I’ve heard from Leon Russell (!). “Dark Blue Room” is Nashville-fine, sad and yet hopeful with some of the most tasteful pedal steel runs I’ve heard as of late, “Never Ever Land” is soft and sweet and “The Ferryman’s Name” is chiming with some clever chord progressions and a neat horn fanfare.
Again, it’s a very appropriate title for this album and at this particular time, it fits the mood perfectly. It’s been a long, cold and troubling winter. And although these songs were written under very adverse circumstances, these two very fine musicians have brought a ray of hope and melody to the oncoming season.
The Last Day Of Winter will be released on April 7th, 2015