Joselyn & Don "Seeds & Bones"
Americana UK Album Reviews
by Ian Kennedy
September 26, 2022
A blues/jazz tinged western gothic EP exploring life’s continuum.
At what point does a collection of songs transition from being an EP to being an LP? That is the sort of thoughtful question that could have led to hours of aimless discussion, usually fuelled by strong drink, in the days before Google search*. Now it is the sort of question that gets killed stone dead in seconds by someone with a ‘smart’ phone and an itchy trigger finger.
It is also a question that can be partly answered by Joselyn Wilkinson and Don Barrozo’s latest rich offering of songs- Joselyn & Don ‘Seeds & Bones’, marketed as an EP. At six tracks long, it is still an EP, then. Maybe things change at seven…
This is grown-up timeless folk music, deeply rooted in blues and the natural world. It explores how we are locked into past and future, earth, sky, and all the creatures on this beautiful planet that we are slowly wrecking.
“How do we make room for the seeds we need to plant, the hopes of tomorrow? These are the questions behind our new work ‘Seeds and Bones’ ”, explains Wilkinson. She goes on to describe the strong influences that went into the album, sorry, EP- “we are melding our many influences- of blues, rock, folk, jazz, poetry and percussion into songs that not only carry our truth, but have helped us to find it.”
The duo brought their collective pasts and deepest fears to their work, to find hope in the future. And don’t we all need a bit of hope? They have each had their own individual careers before their time working together in recent years. Barrozo has played jazz and blues for many years and Wilkinson has a country/folk background, both as a solo artist and also with her band Wild Roots. Recorded during lockdown in their garden studio in LA, both their musical heritages can be heard on the EP’s six tracks.
The collection starts with ‘Deep Down’ and the opening verse that sets the scene for the album- ‘My seeds and bones are buried here, deep in Mother Earth. You might think that I’m long gone, but it’s time for my rebirth’.
Wilkinson’s strong engaging soul-tinged vocal delivery is central to all the songs, often with the minimal backing of her own ukulele playing and Barrozo’s virtuoso guitar playing. Some other instruments are added in by the duo but this remains very much a folk record with enough jazz and blues undercurrents to keep it interesting and surprising.
With its natural earth themes, and reckoning of the past while looking towards a positive future, this is thought-provoking music that will bring a light to any room. It is worth seeking out. One good thing about EP’s is that the quality doesn’t peter out, eight or nine tracks in, as some LP’s do. This is a collection of songs that entertains, inspires and comforts in equal measure.