Trust me when I say there is nothing better you can do tonight than go see The Tide Rose for free at Rare Olde Times. This folk duo has quickly become one of my favorite acts in town, mostly due to the delicate and endearing chemistry Kelian Creech and Whitney Caroline share. That charm shines through in their live shows as well as on their self-titled EP from last November, a record so overlooked in town at the time that its downright criminal. While the chemistry is a huge part of their appeal, the duo’s songwriting is more than enough to turn any new listener into an instant fan. There’s a subtle urgency to each song, whether the song is being driven by the thumping rhythms, gossamer instruments, or powerful vocal harmonies. It allows each song to really take on a life of their own and break away from the pack, breaking the normal malaise listeners may feel when listening to folk. Live, the sound is much more stripped down as it often features only a guitar and the two voices, but both Creech and Caroline are able to infuse more energy and passion into these performances to more than make up for what’s missing. Hearing a song like “Wade In The Water” live, you can feel the phantom presence of the drums in the background even though it’s only Creech’s guitar moving the rhythm forward.
The obvious comparison you’re going to come with when listening to The Tide Rose is the beloved duo The Civil Wars, and you’re not too far off with that guess. The band themselves acknowledge The Civil Wars influence on them, but they are far from a carbon copy of the band. There’s a more halycon relationship with The Tide Rose than you’d find with The Civil Wars, a duo that excelled when putting the two voices in some type of conflict or turmoil. All in all, it makes for much more dulcet music that can definitely be as moving and impactful as songs like “Poison & Wine.” Creech himself is also a member of Jeremy White & The Blue Hearts, another excellent new band here in town that everyone should listen to, and while The Tide Rose’s pristine vocals separate itself from the rugged singing from Jeremy White, you can sense bits and pieces of White’s songwriting influence on the band, specifically the guitar work serving as an ingenious guide to where each song is going.
It’s a perfect time to see the duo tonight with it taking place in a relaxed and intimate setting. It starts at 8 PM too, giving you more than enough time to attend another show in town (like Drew’s six-band show pick for tonight), or it might provide you the opportunity to turn in early and re-energize for the weekend. Simply put, there’s no good reason to skip this show and miss out on some high caliber music, and it’s a perfect time to get introduced to one of the finest acts in Richmond, no matter what the genre.
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