I enjoyed Conny Ochs' debut 'Raw Love Songs', which has been released in 2011 and I love Scott 'Wino' Weinrich's acoustic record 'Adrift'. Hence so much greater my pleasure when Exile On Mainstream Records announced to release an acoustic collaboration between both musicians. Now here is the result of this fruitful cooperation and it is entitled 'Heavy Kingdom'. One thing should be made clear at the outset: this is not a solo record of Wino with Conny Ochs as a background musician. Both guys are equal partners on 'Heavy Kingdom', what means that they share the vocals as well as the guitar playing. They perfectly harmonize and each song (a total of eleven tunes) sounds as if they were playing together for years. It is truly an amazing combination of these two artists strengths.
Furthermore, 'Heavy Kingdom' goes deep into feelings but without sticky sentimentalism, asks some questions to life but without being aridly philosophical. The overall vibe is intimate and contemplative, but never weepy and kitschy. The musicianship on the album is superb. I am convinced by its simplistic approach while none of the songs seems rushed or used for filler. Even the cover version of 'Highway Kind', a Townes Van Zandt composition, fits perfectly into the flow of the album. The music is a great mixture of folk, blues and a bit of rock 'n' roll and is thus comparable to 'Raw Love Songs' or 'Adrift'.
Whenever I am listening to 'Heavy Kingdom' it almost takes me to another place, much as a great book or movie does. Wino's and Conny Ochs' singing and playing paint a picture for the listener. This is beautiful haunting music from the soul and for your soul. Both are not screaming for the listener's attention but rather inviting you into their heavy kingdom - if I may put it that way. And once you have entered their kingdom that they have created it is a truly magical experience and the power of the music is exciting. Bottom line, this is a masterpiece, essential listening. Highly recommended.