Music » Critics' Picks

The Cantrells

Friday, February 18; the Focal Point (2720 Sutton Boulevard)


A husband, a wife. A fiddle, a mandolin. Some things just go together, and the Cantrells are one of those things. It's a simple formula, but why add anything to simplicity if simplicity works? On tour the folk duo trades vocal duties and turns with guitar, mandolin and fiddle. On the Cantrells' latest release, "The Heart Wants What It Wants," the likes of Tim Carter, Béla Fleck and Mark Schatz pick up the slack with banjo, Dobro and upright bass.

The sound is pure southern Appalachian folk, blended with enough country twang to make staying in Nashville make sense. The Cantrells are the kind of performers who take the time to talk to their audience between songs, to tell the stories that make life's happenings songs to begin with. You find these touches in their liner notes as well, where Emily Cantrell invites us into her mind with each italicized preface, telling us about her mother, her grandmother and the portal to the past that is their quilt on her bed. It could border on sentimental overkill if the music didn't back up the mirth. But it does, with plenty of original melodies and a smattering of well-selected covers, from Joan Baez to Johnny Mercer.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.50; call 314-781-4200 for more information.

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