John & Judy Rodman – Here We Are

by Janet Goodman

john-and-judy-rodman_here-we-areWhat’s left for a couple to pursue when the husband has had a long, colorful career as an in-demand drummer on tour and in the studio, and his wife has written #1 hit songs for others, has had her own #1 as an artist, and has been the recipient of the prestigious ACM Award for Top New Female Vocalist (not to mention wearing producer and vocal coach hats, as well)? If you had asked John & Judy Rodman last year if they have done it all, probably they would have said something like, “Heck no. After 40 years in the music biz, we’re now going to record our debut album as a duo.” That’s just what these two Nashville artists have done: they’ve recorded and released their bucket-list labor of love on the Rivermoon Records label. “Here We Are,” is a self-described Americana collection featuring six of seven co-written songs.

Opening with “Somethin’ Like That” –- their co-write with son Peter –- Judy Rodman matches the deliciously swampy groove with Miss Sassafrass in her voice as she explores people and “that candy that you chase.” She’s behind the piano on “Still Breathing” (co-written with Cassandra Kubinski), their serious pop effort with a spiritual uplift, then compliments the smooth slide on “When The Day Is Over” with her laidback vibrato and soulful vocal delivery, as she perfectly captures the small-town southern evening: “Time slows down/It’s all ‘right now’/…Small talk fades/Porch swing sways.”

Pointing a finger at a hopelessly dysfunctional guy on the dark and bluesy “Something Bad,” she does a 180 with “There We Are” –- a Disney-esque throwback ballad arranged with delicate touches of flute. Stand-out “You Want It Back” shows Rodman energized and full of attitude as she takes the wheel and drives it straight to blues-rock town, flanked by a wicked horn section. They wrap things up with a haunting collaboration of musicians on instrumental “Sweet Dreams.” This might be the couple’s first outing as a duo, but I’ll bet it’s not the last.

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