Where the Rivers Meet - Shea & Larren
By Greg Hartman
The closest races of the GVL 17 Best were where they mattered most- the music. While coming in second for best song, Shea Bramer and Larren Oliver’s Where The Rivers Meet stood out for best album. An album that almost didn’t happen due to the theft of Shea’s laptop/recording studio, the album catches the pop with a bit of country mix the duo set out to achieve.
The album starts with “Summer Rain”, where a piano plays as Shea croons about a summer love affair while Larren provides harmonies. It has been a live staple as the two play regular shows at Springfield Suites and Doubletree Hotel. “Whiskey and Weed” follows, with the duo playing an acoustic pop song about a couple working through life enjoying two things Colorado specializes in.
The third track “Rearrange” was nominated for GVL 17 Best Song and is a fan favorite. Somehow, the duo takes an old pick up line about rearranging the alphabet to put U and I together. It comes across devoid of irony and sincere, coupling soaring harmonies and guitars. This also not a sapply love song, instead it is about longing to make life fit right and accepting when it won’t.
The title track “Where the Rivers Meet” is a fun, poppy love song with a great local connection. The duo’s chemistry on guitar and vocals comes across best in the track, breaking past the simple strum found in most acoustic music. “Butterfly Tattoo” follows, shifting from love found to love spurned. The acoustic rocker features near-rap vocal cadences while a relationship better left in the past is detailed.
A song from a previous recording, “Blue” is updated on the album. The addition of Larren’s harmony vocals are a welcome addition, adding a new layer to an already great pop song. “Part of Me” is a beautiful acoustic song with lyrics that slowly sort out feelings towards a relationship.
The final track, “We Hear You (Delaney’s Song)” has a special place for many who met and were influenced by the brave young woman who fought cancer until the very end. The tribute admits “There are no words to make this right/ If it were up to me/ I’d take it all away/ All the fear and pain”. The closing, soaring choir of voices adds the right touch to close out an album that takes on big themes of love and loss and funnels them into an approachable pop/rock album. As the final words promise “We hear you and you are not alone.”