Two years after their debut ‘Just Beyond the Shine’, Peach & Quiet are back with another bunch of great songs aided and abetted by producer and guitarist extraordinaire Steve Dawson. The album continues where the debut left off with some gorgeous Americana/country rock/blues stylings with a few influences creeping in from the background of the duo Jonny Miller and Heather Reed. Our review of their debut referenced the usual Laurel Canyon influences but ‘Beautiful Thing’ pulls in some slightly rockier influences like seventies Fleetwood Mac (or particularly Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks) and a lot of that’s down to Steve Dawson’s production and playing with layers of guitars from resonators through electrics to pedal steel.

The gentle title track sets the tone for the album; its country feel with those guitar layers, lovely harmonies and Jonny Miller’s slightly raspy vocal are things that you hear in varying degrees throughout the album. As an added bonus (for me, anyway), the song opens with one of my favourite chord progressions, falling from the tonic to the subdominant. Want to know why I like this progression? It features in two of my favourite songs, ‘These Days’ by Jackson Browne and Graham Parker’s ’Watch the Moon Come Down’. And honestly, speaking as a mediocre guitarist, it’s easy to play and sounds good.

With a title ‘Horse and Saddle’ you’d be expecting a country arrangement; that would be too predictable. Jonny’s dad is a reggae DJ and he was brought up around reggae musicians, so the influence was always going to come out somewhere. Heather’s dad was a Hammond player and Hammond’s very much in evidence on the slow blues of ‘This Time’, the rock vibe of ‘Behind the Sun’ with a nod in the direction of Crazy Horse and ‘Pockets Empty’, the story of a relationship with a charismatic psychopath.

At a time when temperatures are heading below zero again, ‘Beautiful Thing’ brings a welcome splash of California sunshine with its infectious melodies, exquisite harmonies and perfect arrangements, balancing multiple guitar parts with piano and Hammond to create perfect settings for Jonny and Heather’s solo and duet vocals. Summer feels a long way away at the moment, but this album brings it a bit closer.

‘Beautiful Thing’ is released on Peach & Quiet Music (P&QCD002) on 20th January 2023.

Here’s a live video of ‘This Time’:

When Allan reviewed the album “Just Beyond the Shine” at the start of 2021, it shone a light all the way from Laurel Canyon into a cold British winter. The album was all warmth and light, in stark contrast to the grey and dismal London still in the grip of a COVID lockdown. It was a beacon in the dark days pointing to a better place. We’re pleased that Jonny Miller from Peach & Quiet has shared his 2021 high points with us.

Ok, let’s try this, in no particular order:

BBC Scotland album of the week: the ever-amazing Geraint and Deb Jones introduced our duo to Europe, and even landed us a plum spot as BBC Scotland’s “album of the week”! As a major Jimi Hendrix fan myself, it was surreal to be on the BBC, as I’ve loved listening to Jimi’s BBC moments. And for Heather, who was born in Wales, I know it was a pinnacle for her as well.

Clark Becker, drummer: LA drummer Clark Becker is one of the most musical and artistic drummers I’ve ever worked with, and I know someday the rest of the world will feel the same. Due to the pandemic, we both doubled down on our remote recording skills and gear, and have been cooking up some tasty tunes. A bromance for the ages, miss ya brother!

Union Tube and Transistor “More” guitar pedal: what can I say about this pedal that hasn’t already been said? It is the key to many electric guitar players “sound”, and I can’t imagine going back to playing without it. Big shout out to Paul Rigby (if you don’t know who Paul is, look him up, he’s a legend out here in Western Canada) for turning me on to Union, and that particular pedal. Thanks man!

Curried coconut miso lentil soup: I’ve been making variations on this soup for years now, but I think I’ve reached new levels of yum during the past year. Currently I’m rocking a mix of red and French lentils. One of the keys to this soup is using multiple types of lentils, which creates a complex and rounded flavour profile, to my taste buds at least. Just writing this is making me crave a bowl of this hardy nectar of the gods and goddesses.

Home: is there anything more important than liking where you live, in these times? Being here, amongst the trees, between a lake and the ocean, with our little feline pal, Miles, has kept us (mostly) sane. I can’t imagine being anywhere else (except on tour in Europe … someday … hopefully!).