BHST - Berkley, Hart, Selis, Twang
Eve Selis and her long-time guitarist Marc Twang have built up a sizeable UK following over the past ten years or so. Hailing from San Diego, they are part of a rich Southern California music scene, and with this new album, they introduce us to fellow San Diego-based duo Berkley Hart (Jeff Berkely and Calman Hart). They have merged their various instrumental, vocal and writing skills to create an album full of memorable songs and strong performances. Framed by thoughts of home, memories, and dreams, using melodies that sound as familiar as those thoughts, earnest three-part harmonies take the listener from the easy lilt of West Coast country-rock to bluegrass-styled Appalachia and all toe-tapping points in between. Eve’s clear-toned voice blends effortlessly with the gruff tones of Calman Hart on the catchy duet Long Road Back To Love. There’s a softer lilt to the melodic Tomorrow On My Mind, with a subtle, harmonic 1960s-vibe that is most appealing. I particularly enjoyed California Mountain Time with a great lead vocal by Eve enhanced by the free-wheeling West Coast harmonies—though it hardly breaks new ground, this is quality stuff and in another time frame, this would’ve been considered something of a soft country-rock classic.
In between the melodic upbeat and mid-tempo songs, this quartet inject soothing ballads and laments with If I Lost You being the most compelling. Eve is one of today’s most unique vocalists and delivers the goods on this strong tune, but what makes this so extra special is the way that Calman Hart comes in with his own soulful vocal then the pair of them come together for a heartbreaking duet that digs deep into your very soul. There’s a whole different vocal approach by Calman for Boomerang, which is not the expected up-tempo song, but a slow pleading song with this time Eve coming in on the harmony. Let’s Go Out Drinkin’ is a great slice of pure country driven by steel and fiddle as Eve and Calman look forward to getting away from family and kids for a rare night out together—just the two of them—something all parents can relate to.
This exquisite album is a wonderful blend of the tradition with their own contemporary spin as they weave together the fibres of roots music into songs that are passionate and should resonate with listeners across the world. These are universal themes that are packed tight in the songs' lyrics; songs about self-doubt, about love and lost connections, the pull of home, and a broader, bolder sense of the changing world around us. There is hope rising anew within the challenges we all encounter as we journey down life’s highway.