Heart Opens as the View Expands … Radio Lark’s “Stolen Oranges” CD Review


On the second track of Radio Lark’s second studio CD “Stolen Oranges” entitled “Jar,” singer/guitarist/lyricist Chris Rutushin wishes he could capture a moment in a jar to share with someone how lucky they are.

Relax. You’ve done it. And shared it with the world.

“Stolen Oranges” was released in September along with a video for the title track, and the production values on both are outstanding, but it’s the lyrical and six-string hooks that make this ten song sophomore album a keeper.

Stolen Oranges

“Stolen Oranges” from Radio Lark.

I’ve found a majority of albums that use the opening track as the album title and first single don’t usually have much more to offer beyond those first three or four minutes. This, I’m glad to say, is not among them. A great opening track, “Stolen Oranges,” leads to “Jar” and into “(Lonesome) Homesick Jones” featuring some blistering harmonica riffs by Demos Papadimos. That’s a hat-trick of great tunes to kick off a CD. Which is impressive. And then, it gets better, and weirder, before coming back around with to end on a mellow note.

Track four, “Pull Of The Moon” features Shiloh Hawkins (of Blue Through Branches) in a great give-and-take duet with Rutushin that really jumps out of the speakers at you. Their voices are so complimentary and the arrangement of Lex Calder’s Hammond B3, Lake Baum’s electric & Shiloh’s acoustic guitars and Ed Davis’s drums makes this hands-down the best song on the CD, musically and lyrically. “March Hare” follows with a great Sitar intro, and then, out of nowhere, a spoken-word interlude called “Hovedbanegården” that kind of throws things off track, for me. It’s not bad, it’s just different. “Passenger” gets us back into the music nicely, and it followed by “Queen of Marigold,” which is my second favorite track on the CD (behind “Pull of the Moon”). Rutushin’s acoustic guitar is highlighted for the first half of this song before it blows up into an Oasis-like gem of a song. An acoustic re-do of the title track called “Stolen Oranges (When In Rome)” shows the quality of the lyrics here and features some great mandolin work from Nathanel Welch, and the CD ends with “The Song Renames Unnamed AKA The Hobbit Song,” which is a great closer with more of Welch’s mandolin & Scott Burns on cello.

The best part of all of this is it was totally unexpected. I met Chris while discussing his camera work on a TV show, and had no idea he was in a band, or just how outstanding his lyrics and music are until he handed me the CD a couple of days after it was released,  But that’s how it goes …. so I’m told.

Check out the video for “Stolen Oranges” here, and grab the CD from iTunes … your ears will thank you.

Radio Lark is:
Chris Rutushin – vocals, acoustic guitar, melodica, harmonica, keys & djembe
Rick Deak – vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, dobro & cajón
Scott Burns – vocals, bass & cello
Dave Lynn – vocals & electric guitar
Patrick Majernik – drums & percussion

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