Record Review: Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands

Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands

Muses and Bones

Greensboro, NC

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“Polished, breathtaking group with international influences”

With her travels and her anthropology and ethnomusicology background, Crystal Bright is a social scientist in music of all cultures and regions. She and her musical partner Diego Diaz, along with the occasional variety of other folk musicians, make up Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands, a Greensboro carnival folk ensemble that incorporates musical elements from all across the globe—from a small Ugandan village, a garish Mexican bodega, to the shores of The Balkans. With their first self-titled album, the group gathered together tracks of dark folktales, tragic mariachi tunes and heel-stomping songs about lollipops.

Muses and Bones is a polished step forward for the Silver Hands. Keeping with the same spherical theme and style in their songs, this record’s production and musical arrangements have sprouted a bouquet of haunting, inventive sounds, wrapped tightly with Bright’s magical lyricism. Accordion is prevalent in this album, but it deftly fits so it does not become too grating. “Especially Your Mother” is a fun accordion folk song, accompanied by the tantalizing shrill of Bright’s saw instrument. “The Misplaced Zygote: Down the Wrong Chimney” is so mind-persisting and possesses great lines: “Feeding me worms when I’m meant to eat lilies, violets, chickweed and hay/I can no longer be this way, if I ever want to live again.” Muses and Bones, as the title suggests, also includes favorites from the first album, such as “Toy Hammer” and “Little Match Girl.” Whatever the “muses” may be, they have helped Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands to shape a brilliant, breathtaking record. (Self-released)

Recorded and mixed by Randy Seals at On Pop of the World Studios

Mastered by G & J Audio

Design by Christopher Lubinski, Crystal Bright, and Kemp Stroble

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