The Audio Beat Review: John Crossett

  Barry Diament, producer, recording engineer, chief cook and bottle washer of Soundkeeper Recordings, has released a number of excellent albums. I have many of them and have enjoyed them, even if not all are quite to my own musical tastes. All have something worthwhile to hear, and all are superbly recorded. However, with The Twain Shall Meet by the Cosmic American Derelicts, Diament looks to have married both the best musical and sonic qualities of his previous efforts into a complete whole. This is, to my ears, the finest album I have ever heard from Soundkeeper and among my favorite albums, period. It is a recording that I cannot imagine anyone not enjoying. Combining elements of bluegrass, country, folk, Southern rock and Americana, the Cosmic American Derelicts have recorded an album that finds and pulls on the heartstrings of a listener's musical soul.  


The Cosmic American Derelicts were founded in 1998 and include George Kapitanelis, band leader, bass and tambourine; Scott Lauro on vocals, harmony vocals, guitar and banjo; Danny Pavas on vocals, harmony vocals, guitar; Ed Rainey on harmony vocals, Dobro and guitar; and Nick Reeb on fiddle. They have toured the US and the UK, leaving a trail of fans behind. This is their fifth album, so they obviously are doing something right. As you can see from the choice of instrumentation, this is a group used to intricacies of acoustic instruments, along with the use vocal harmonies. Diament recorded this album live to the microphone and direct to stereo, and I don’t care which version you listen to, the CD, or one of the many downloaded forms, you will be startled by the "liveness" of the sound. The CD had me checking its provenance again, so startlingly good was it. Then the 24-bit/192kHz WAV files took the excellent CD sound and ratcheted it up about ten notches. But no matter which one you choose, you will get the absolute best sound that particular format has to offer. Voices sound like they're in the room, and the room sounds like the recording barn/studio. Instruments are set in their own acoustic space, and those instruments have a sense of realness I have rarely encountered. Listen to the acoustic bass, hear the fingers pluck the strings and then hear the enormous cavity of the instrument excited into sound. Hear the bow pulled across the strings of the fiddle and how easy it is to tell the difference between the plucked banjo strings and those of the guitars. I consider this some of the absolute best sound I have ever heard.

But the real stars here are the songs. Each one rings true to its deep roots. There may only be ten tunes that run about 35 minutes total, but I am guessing you will be playing and replaying this music repeatedly, so overall length will not be an issue. Starting with the opening track, “New Half Step,” from the fiddle work to the banjo plucking, to the harmony vocals, the song will touch you, as will the balance of the tunes. Personally, I enjoyed “Whispers on the Wind” and “Oh No,” “Waylon” and “Speeding Train” for the wonderful music and superb harmonies of Lauro, Pavas and Rainey. No, the voices are not smooth and soothing, but rough, gruff, and used, which perfectly matches the music. If you ever get the chance to see these boys live, do not pass it up.

The Twain Shall Meet is, to my ears, Barry Diament’s greatest achievement to date. It marries totally enjoyable music to sound that will display all of the realism your system is capable of producing. I am also willing to bet this becomes a go-to disc to demonstrate why we audiophiles spend so much time and money putting together a stereo system: to hear music and sound like this.

FATEA Magazine UK Review


1Artist:Cosmic American Derelicts
Album: The Twain Shall Meet
Label: Soundkeeper
Tracks: 10

The South Jersey five-piece have been busy in recent months, recording both a full on blues rock album and an R&B one for release later this and early next year, respectively. In the meantime, this has them drawing on bluegrass, folk, swampy blues and old time country, all recorded live with no overdubs on one Connecticut day last summer.

Using imagery about rivers flowing and drying up, 'New Half Step' is a post break-up number, but rather than wanting her back, fiddle taking a solo, they sing "if you give back my ring girl/I'll pawn it for a new guitar". 'Yankee' is a celebration of their roots "Yankee you can call me, but I feel I'm a Southern son…Sittin' on a porch somewhere outside Savannah", while, a particular stand out, 'Lighthouse Keeper' is about the singer consigning himself to a life of solitude, watching the tides and signaling the ships after some senorita ran away with his soul.

Ed Rainey on dobro and Nick Reeb on fiddle, 'Whispers On The Wind' is a restless, lonesome wanderer song, always called by the open road while elsewhere Oh No' provides the obligatory murder ballad ("It was him or I who was gonna die…well I dug his grave for his soul to save"), though here it's likely in the context of two soldiers confronting each other, presumably, given the band, with a Civil War backdrop, and 'Woods And Water' is an Appalachian bluesy lament of a musician too long away from home, "chasing demons for a song".

You might assume 'Waylon' was about the legendary country outlaw, but is in fact their contribution to the old school country staple tradition of singing about a loyal dog that's now died, blessed in suitably melancholy form with the line "all that's left is an empty collar". They then round things off with another highlight, the backwoods prayer ("truth be untold, I'm a man without a soul") waltzing strum of 'Let Me In' and two bluegrass numbers for good measure, the staccato punctuations of 'Pine Song' and the rollicking 'Speeding Train' with a delivery that matches the title. Demonstrating a complete mastery of and affection for the music they play, it would be a clear cosmic dereliction of duty not to seek it out.

Mike Davies

Review By DME Let It Rock


Soundkeeper Recordings 2022

With the spirit of prairie on their collective sleeve, restless seekers of rootsy paradise get sequestered in a barn to unplug and get away with it. 


Lately, this band have been on a roll, laying down pieces penned in different genres – bluegrass/country, rock ‘n’ roll, and rhythm-and-blues, which form separate song cycles arrayed for release in the near future – and playing around on their own and with Terry Reid who’s also ready issue an album of the quintet-composed numbers, yet “The Twain Shall Meet” had to get out of the ensemble’s system first, for it’s the closest to their country heart. Recorded in a 200-year-old barn in the hills of Connecticut, the platter is as stylistically refined and nuanced as it is deceptively rustic, almost homespun, in terms of delivery and emotions that are, in fact, rather sophisticated and always sincere, with a twist thrown in here and there to keep the listener riveted to the proceedings – and often beaming because not everything on offer turns out to be what it seems.

Take, for instance, “Waylon” which, instead of paying tribute to a certain outlaw, unfolds into a tender ode to an old dog, a similar, if more defiant, pining for the past set in from the off, once “New Half Step” locates sadness in the hootenanny sonics where the filigree of dobro is woven into guitars’ strum before voice and violin begin their sweet swirl on the sawdust-covered dancefloor to the groove that’s delicately dictated by George Kapitanelis’s bass. With Scott Lauro adopting a drawl and Nick Reeb’s fiddle panning across the Appalachian landscape, the group marry Northern and Southern idioms, the titular twain, in “Yankee” whose vocal harmonies are heavenly and an acoustic six-string solo celestial, while the dry “Whispers On The Wind” evokes the springtime smell of faraway valleys. However, the barely-there instrumentation of “Oh No” distils it to diaphanous despondency – contrasted with impassioned singing – and “Woods And Water” slows the flow for “whiskey weed” to go down with a tuneful anguish, “chasin’ demons for a song” in warbler and writer Danny Pavas’ own words. And though the ensemble try and keep their vibe as pure as possible, a blues link will be revealed when banjo licks flood “Pine Song” to morph despair into merry memories, the destination of “Speeding Train” which closes this magnificent album at breakneck speed. Such variety of moods is the key to the record’s relatability and accessibility, so one doesn’t have to play cowboy to feel the “Twain” appeal.






New Reviews for The Twain Shall Meet

"...The album is a nice blend of tunes, excellent musicianship, great finger-picking, and nice vocals. The band plays together with excellent blending and support of the various musical voices throughout. I really enjoyed the variety of instruments used throughout to create variety and increased musical interest. This is music-making with vitality and integrity. It is music-making to enjoy!... As I first listened to this album, my immediate reaction was: Oh, indeed yes. Something very right is going on with this recording… This sounds real, it is authentic. It sound fresh and clear and open and very much a real performance in a real space. "
- From Rushton Paul's Soundkeeper Recordings - Bringing The Live Performance at posi+ive feedback

"The reflective and melancholy songs are well crafted, and very well performed...the album is a joy to listen to... With the mainstream music business churning out ever more material that has more to do with technical wizardry than the talent of the artist, there is a small but noticeable backlash with smaller companies like Soundkeeper Recordings producing the equivalent of what we call Real Ale here in the UK... Straight away, I noticed the real impression that I was listening to something that is as close to being at a live performance as we can have from a recording... As I listened I could feel myself in a wooden cabin, somewhere in the mountains, a wood fire warming the room, and the band playing away in front of me. Not many recordings I have heard over the years, have done that anywhere near as well as this recording."
- Read Nick Whetstone's review at TNT-Audio

"Cosmic American Derelicts somehow succeed in drawing your Old Scribe's attention to the Scottish, French & Irish influences (direct or via Canadian, Cajun journeys)... Unrequited love, rage & revenge are key lyrical themes, reinforced by musical syntax that invites coherent responses with the key signatures, modes & cadences behind the words & vocal melody... Your Old Scribe may be biased, but no amount of cortisol raising descriptive bloodshed & panic will ever substitute for the adrenaline of wide dynamic range & an unexpectedly interrupted cadence. The Soundkeeper Recordings preserve more of the dynamic range than the typical mainstream loudness wars of CD's & radio edits. The arrival of the physical format CD version exemplified this... The higher resolution download is worthwhile, especially as it better reveals the extraordinary care taken to capture the performance accurately in single takes."

"This is a highly recommended recording of fine musicians making an original contribution to the great American songbook."

- Read Mark Wheeler's review at TNT-Audio

"It’s notable that the recording method encourages a careful choice of music and venue. And attentive listening takes you there and then. There’s a palpable sense of situated musical event... Real music, not engineered by machines. Restrained and honest, in both the musical performance and the way the recording is done. That’s what I hear from this 10-song album... Justice would see this music find its way into many listening rooms. If the band’s name strikes up some curiosity, the musical experience will be both surprising and rewarding... This is an enjoyable tasteful addition to the Soundkeeper Recordings catalogue that will immediately appeal to those of us who are fans of Barry Diament’s signature clean and dynamic "real" sound (I’ve written enthusiastically about it in earlier reviews).

Review: Songs From The Homestead

 Inner Ear Music Review: Koen Maas

 Cosmic American Derelicts released a self-titled record a couple of years back that showed remarkable ability to mix the energy of rock & roll with the spirit of roots music, touched up with some bluesrock here and there. They now return with "Songs from the Homestead" on which they continue their well-balanced roots rocking. From the opener to the closer, this album features 9 strong songs, sometimes a little heavier, sometimes a little more uptempo and sometimes they take the foot off the gas to slow things down a bit.

 The opener, Sleepwalker Killer is an uptempo country rocker that immediately gives you the impression of stepping right in the middle of this CD. There's no need to ease you into it or to slowly build up for what's to come. No, the Cosmic American Derelicts are in top form, right from the start. And they continue to go strong with Same Old. This might be the album's top track. The influences from blues & bluegrass have a very prominent role in this fast-paced song that shows the cohesion and musicianship in this band as they all play an important role to lift this song to great heights. And on a more country-influenced radio station I would not see a reason for this song not to be one of the top rotations.

 Barbed Wire Bed is slightly more gritty with its nice twang and bluegrass instrumentation. It has a bit of a modern honky tonk sound to it that suits the Derelicts very well. As always their music is performed with passion and straight from the heart. Even though, generally, the roots scene doesn't get the appreciation it deserves anymore, Cosmic American Derelicts have found a way to bridge the old sound with a more modern approach. Bands like this might just embody the revival of the americana, country & roots music all over the world.

 On Bedside the band shows a gentler approach which definitely reaches back to old school country & western music. The sophisticated arrangement and absolute top performances build this song up to an impressive whole that might not be something radio will pick up on, but the song will no doubt be embraced by the many fans of the genre. After the impressive Bedside, the Derelicts continue with a song from one of their heroes. Townes Van Zandt, highly underrated himself, wrote a lot of great songs, but one of his very best is this Dollar Bill Blues, which is very tastefully performed by the Cosmic American Derelicts. The band is able to recreate the original feel of the song, yet they still manage to make the song sound more current. Van Zandt's arrangement leaves room to subtly accentuate parts of the song, and the Derelicts play it to near perfection.

 We're already halfway through the record but thankfully there's more to come. And with the breezy, and even kinda catchy, Drink You Off My Mind, the band might have a breakthrough single on their hands. The subtle instrumental accents and strong vocals rely on a sound arrangement that features one of the better country songs I have heard in recent years. The song is not necessarily filled with sophisticated or complicated schemes and unnecessary solos. No, it's the honesty and simplicity that the song portrays that impresses.

 The country-rocker I Only Steal Things When I'm Drunk is perhaps the funnest song on the album. With a more alternative sound, yet a very balanced arrangement, it manages to energize the mood and the lyrics that are typically country music, make everything just fit. And while you're listening to this song you can't help but think it must make one hell of a live song.

 Last Words is another strong song, probably the most 'epic' on the album. It has strong influences from classic rock, though at times it slows down and provides room for a more rootsy sound. The whole song flows back and forth like the tide and shows a lot of creative freedom, free creativity a force that surrounds this excellent band. And unfortunately we've reached the very end of this CD. With Rocktopus we've reached the album closer. And while it's too bad this strong album is coming to an end, the heavier rock sound portrayed on Rocktopus both surprised me and amazed me. The impressive guitar work brings the arrangement alive, while the rhythm instruments provide a very strong base on which this song can flourish. The band brings in a top quality performance and delivers on every single note. The lack of vocals is something I hadn't even noticed the first time I listened to the song, which makes it even more impressive. But with music like this, you don't need vocals. The instruments speak for themselves. This is over 400 seconds of pure musical bliss.

 I was already convinced of this band's musical qualities after I heard their first album, but with "Songs from the Homestead" they just proved they were able to get things even more together and bring the quality a couple notches up. Cosmic American Derelicts are a band that should be well-known and with the quality they show in their music it won't take very long until they find their way to a broader audience.

Inner Ear Music: CAD Debut

 Cosmic American Derelicts play a mix of country & bluegrass influenced rock & roll. The edgy, yet natural sound this band produces is well-balanced and filled with a lot of effort by a group of very talented musicians. With their self-titled album, they are trying to bridge the gap between musician and listener, and with 11 solid songs they definitely succeed in doing that.

 The uptempo Karyline is a fun song that features the best of rock & roll and the best of country mixed together into a very cool and balanced song that starts as sort of an easy introduction to this band's music. After the solid opener, Cosmic American Derelicts continues with Annie Walks, which is one of my favorites on the album. The mix of pop, rock, roots and even a little blues comes out wonderfully well. The band plays in its own distinct style with a professional and passionate approach that makes Annie Walks a song that has plenty of radio potential. And with the more uptempo, and slightly more alternative, You Say These Things they continue to go strong. The blend of styles and tight instrumentals back up the passionate vocals, making an infectious song that could cross-over to please fans in both spectrums of the bands music.

 With Too Far, the band delves a little more into the americana side of their musical influences, but they hold on to their allegro tempo and keep the album rolling nicely. On Mainline however, they pace down a little bit, which provides for a nice breather and gives way for Cosmic American Derelicts to show that they also shine in that department, as it is one of the strongest tracks on the album. The build up and sound playing are a pleasure for fans of honest/real music, Mainline could become a modern day classic.

 Some classic rock and blues influences find their way into Crazy which is a song that is still growing on me. At first I had to get used to it a little bit, but there are so many great things to explore in this song. It's a song that is built up in several layers and if you follow the tight rhythm in the drums that build a strong base for the vocals and accentuating guitar, you really do get to appreciate the real strength of this song.

 Aren't We is very likely to become a modest radio hit, as it has a bit of a rootsy R.E.M. sound that makes it very accessible for a large group of listeners, yet the Derelicts still manage to stay true to their musical heritage of light heaviness. And with Eastern Bound they get back on the uptempo train and bring country music back to life. The enthusiasm and musicality shines as the group plays with joy and passion.

 The groovy Ain't It Good To Lie is basically a bluesrocker that shows the depth of Cosmic Derelict's musical range, adding a bit of classic pop meets hard rock to their vibe. WIth Ms Raunchy they continue to portray that groovy sound, though the americana and blues influences are a bit stronger on this one.

 We then reach the last track on the album, as Cosmic American Derelicts close up shop, for now, with a rock track Monkee (In A Dream). The song is surprisingly catchy and wraps up a long run of great music on a high note.

 On "Cosmic American Derelicts", we hear a band that is destined for great things as they reach out to the greatest of influences in different genres and are showing the will and talent to become one of the greats in this mixed genre themselves

Guitar Player Review July 2007

Cosmic American Derelicts, Bergenfield, New Jersey "Little McCoy"

This is two minutes of relentless, crazed, and hyped-up rockin' bluegrass. It ain't a perfect romp—but it's played with an intensity and passion that levitates it far above a studied stylistic homage. It's also humorous and fun. Way fun. My ears are still tingling!
Michael Molinda Editor Guitar Player Magazine

Skope Review Jan 2009

  Welcome a foursome of Jersey boys bringing a country-rock/bluegrass sound to the stables on Songs From The Homestead. Composed of new lead singer/guitarist– Scotty Lauro, Ed Rainey on guitars, banjo, mandolin, dobro, lap steel and vocals, George “The Greek” Kapitanellis on Fender bass and Sotiri Karlis on drums. CAD brings a sound that is original and has no boundaries. There are even elements of bluesy rock mixed in with a real old-man-on-the-back-porch bluegrass feel.
 The real, true country sound comes by way of Lauro’s vocal approach, mixed with various instruments such as the banjo and mandolin. Funny part though is that the title of the record has nothing to do with a country-western theme. The name actually comes from a street in the group’s hometown, Homestead Place, and is where they recorded this album. So, a nice play with words because the overall sound definitely matches the title, but the real irony is that it has nothing to with horses and ranches. Very creative on the part of The Cosmic American Derelicts—touché!
  I have to say the main ingredient ,the heart, soul and driving force behind the power of this record has to be Ed Rainey on guitar. Rainey’s guitar-playing ability shined through on many songs; extremely dominant and with a pronounced display of sound. Rainey provides killer guitar licks along with edgy rock riffs blended together with just sweet finger pluckin’. I need to get Ed Rainey to help me out with Guitar Hero, so I can finally get past Easy Mode! Rainey has that WOW factor on guitar and adds immensely to the distinct sound of CAD.
  “Barbed Wire Bed” is a song that really has that grab-your-partner-doe-si-do feel and Bedside pulls heavy on the heartstrings. All the songs blend well together and build as the album plays on. Starting on a high note with Sleepwalkin Killer and ending on a super-high note with “Roctopus,"this track definitely rocks heavey and has the entire band coming together nicely in an all-out mind melting instrumental exploration. Great sound, great finish and over six minutes of long and pure musical exhilaration. 
By Jimmy Rae
Rating: 4 stars

Terry Reid B.B. Kings NYC Show Review

  An astonishing Terry gig, not just for the music and singing but for his passion, relevance, and honesty. I've seen Terry 5 times spread over 35 years and I have to admit that I wasn't expecting something of this magnitude. Last night he used his considerable talent to do something you rarely see a performer do: reach beyond just entertainment. It looked like he was genuinely surprised and touched at the huge response: Standing O and shouting for more at the end. His band was well up to the task and supported him with a great sense of feel and direction, like they were born to play with Terry..

B.B. Kings SHow Review Jan 2009

  Tonight 1/30/09, at BB Kings was fabulous, wonderful, terrific.
Congrats to Terry for doing justice to his talent (and to me for loving him all these years).
We had the best seats, center, front. It was a full house. His band was terrific--they got what he does. Terry was in great form in all aspects. Regaling the crowd with great stories of his past musical adventures. The musicians and Terry all looked like they were having the time of their lives..Brillant

Southern Fried Music Review