The Red Wine Effect – Afternoon Cab

by Rick Moore

red-wine-effect_afternoon-cabThe Red Wine Effect is a Nashville female vocal duo, a bit of a rarity in this day of solo country singers who don’t rely much on harmony vocals, or at least harmony vocals that play much of a role in the song. Kathy Redwine (who swears that the band is named for the product of the grape, and not after her) and Hollie Brogunier are the members of the duo, maybe the closest thing to a female Brooks & Dunn that Nashville seen in a while.

On their album Afternoon Cab, the Red Wine Effect immediately draws comparisons to the Dixie Chicks or the Courtyard Hounds, but there’s more to them than that. The two singers trade song leads, with Redwine’s sometimes more innocent, occasionally smokier voice complemented by Brogunier’s harder, more Ann Wilson-Grace Potter sound, though neither ever take their performance too far outside as to forget the importance of their harmony blend. Both singers are good on their own, and equally as good when they harmonize, singing in the best keys for their harmonies and knowing how to find the best harmony notes within their individual ranges.

Opening with the uptempo cheatin’ song “Too Many Irons in the Fire,” Redwine and Brogunier (with a couple co-writers) sing originals about unrequited love, bad love, desire – well, just about everything you’d expect from a couple women singing in Music City, even if they aren’t strictly today’s country. Production and arrangement-wise the songs are more like country music of about a decade ago, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the dearth of decent product coming out of Music Row these days. And they understand the mechanics of crafting a song that really sounds inspired as opposed to sounding laboriously pored over in the writing process, even if it was.

The album sometimes seems a little piano heavy, especially on the opening track, but that’s pretty minor. The main thing is the sound of this duo and their material, and for an unknown act in a town where dozens of acts with deals can’t get noticed, the Red Wine Effect has hit a home run. In a world of countless indie releases daily, Afternoon Cab is an exceptionally good album from these ladies who really have the goods. And perhaps the coolest thing about the whole CD, as if to buck music business marketing logic, is the fact that there isn’t a song called “Afternoon Cab” anywhere on it. Highly recommended.

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