Kacy & Clayton and Marlon Williams Stir Up Ethereal Country-Folk on Collaborative LP ‘Plastic Bouquet’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Part Iron & Wine, part Cowboy Junkies in their Trinity Sessions mode, the debut collaboration from Kacy & Clayton and Marlon Williams is ethereal folk and country so soft and reverent it almost comes off as a collection of modern hymns.

Written and recorded in both Saskatchewan and Nashville, Plastic Bouquet manages to seemingly come off as both completely unique and oddly familiar at the same time. The 11-track record was written in a three-week period in the dead of winter when Marlon Williams left his home in New Zealand, to meet up with Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum in Canada to collaborate. From there they headed to a much more bearable climate in Nashville to record. 

Kacy and Clayton’s musical partnership goes back to 2013, with five previous records from the Saskatoon natives. But this marks their first partnership with Williams, who has toured and performed with everyone from Springsteen to Brandi Carlile. This collaboration has Anderson and Williams both taking turns in front of the mic. The result works surprisingly well, in part because the two have very familiar vocals styles – slow/steady delivery that comes often like a whisper. 

The impact, when packed with classic country ballad style music, makes for a mostly powerful record. The harmonies are sweet and that much more impactful on songs like “Old Fashioned Man” when both trade off vocals in the same song; the complimenting sounds are undeniable. That being said, there are moments of near déjà vu when you feel like you’ve heard the song before, simply because there is not a lot to distinguish each track from the one that follows. This doesn’t occur often but when it does the impact of the song is blunted. The closing number however, the more upbeat “Devil’s Daughter,” is a clear stand out track.

Plastic Bouquet is a uniquely satisfying mix of both William’s country leanings and Kacy and Clayton’s more folk-based sound. Whether this merging of talents was a one-off experiment or a Fleetwood Mac in the making (minus the drama), we’re still left with a powerful record.   

Photo by Janelle Wallace

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