Read the No Depression review HERE.
Given represents the cream of the crop from his personally penned songs, along with two of Florence’s favorite covers: Paul Simon’s “Peace Like a River” and Damien Jurado’s “Ohio.” These gentle nods to two of his biggest influences help flesh out the simple, nine track record. Flecked with folk influences, finger-picked guitar lines and distinctive harmonies provided by his sister Kelly Florence, Given falls somewhere between Sam Beam’s hushed, vivid folk and Simon’s own conversational, quirky lyrical genius. The slow-burning hope of “Could Today be the Day” falls into a groove, and contrasts with harmony fanfare and drama on album closer “Kindness.” For the more traditional minded, “Shining Shining” is pure pastoral bliss, with bright piano accents and lush harmonies. Through it all, Florence’s understated, warm voice carries the record, wrapping you like a warm blanket on an autumn evening.
Recorded almost entirely live at Fivestar Studio, the finished album is a completely analog effort that features no digital processing. Fivestar Studios is located in the midst of L.A.’s artistic haven Echo Park, and the likes of Father John Misty, Dawes, Bonnie Prince Billy have recorded there. The album features a roster of world-class musicians, including bassist Jon Button (Sheryl Crow, Robben Ford), drummer James McAlister (Sufjan Stevens, Bill Frisell), and guitarist Danny Donnelly. Garth Hudson of The Band, Kevin’s personal hero, is featured on two of the album’s tracks.