It’s quite the distance from the Appalachians to Colorado, but for the duo of Fort Collins singer-songwriters Charlotte Formichella and Lynn Scharf – known as Driftwood Fire – they wouldn’t have it any other way. Reared on the likes of “great American music” which is the Carter Family, Dolly Parton and Gillian Welch, Driftwood Fire have a slight polish to their mountain music framework on How to Untangle a Heartache. However the harmonies come through in spades, especially on the gentle, warm and folksy “Turn On The Radio.” That feel is touched on again later on for “Grey Eyed Sunshine” that revels in old-school Americana.
f one was to think of Kathleen Edwards with a more produced effort on Failer, you might get an idea of where Scharf (the singer and guitarist) and Formichella (the instrumentalist) come from. Thoughtful without being too wordy, songs like “Small City Nights” and the sparse “Let It All Go” flow quite perfectly. Yet the crux of the album is that earthy, barren music lings do oh so well, making some of these numbers, particularly “Appalachian Hills,” come off like Welch. The only huge miscue is a swinging kind of ragtime shuffle which lives up to its title of “Intermission.” Fortunately, that lackadaisical lull is redeemed with the album’s crowning achievement in “Paper Bag” which hauntingly chugs along with a piano off in the distance. Although another song or two would’ve been pleasing, Driftwood Fire has taken the Appalachian to the Rocky Mountains with style and substance.