The recording took about 10 days in 2012 (plus a few weekends for last touches), but the actual release took forever. Nevertheless, Blackbird Sing’s debut LP (originally scheduled for October) was worth waiting for. In spite of original songs with titles like “Manxiety,” “Song That Ends In The” (sic) and a gorgeous folk-country cover of “Hey Jealousy” (a breakthrough for the Gin Blossoms that was followed by the suicide of songwriter Doug Hopkins), Enemies… glides along joyfully, made-to-order for a campfire party. Grammy-winning producer-engineer Stuart Sikes (of Loretta Lynn, The White Stripes, and Cat Power fame), so tastefully arranged the album that, midway through it, I found myself begging for the band’s trademarked Texamericana dirt. But it has at least one marvelous touch that makes it a magic record: the subtle, almost subliminal vocal harmonies (more “Dreams”-era Fleetwood Mac than Beach Boys) that should be better exploited (and amplified) in a live setting. This album shows the complete Blackbird Sing package: hummable songs that find their most glorious state when a fine Robert Vito Salinas gets some serious vocal help from the Magallanez brothers (James on guitar and Daniel on drums). I hope they stay on that vein for their 6 p.m. performance this Friday, April 12 (and every Second Friday) at SAMA’s River Landing.
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