Show of Cards takes a singer-songwriter aesthetic and stretches it across the musical globe. The band has just released their third album, One Small Good Thing, a reflective journey that carries a cohesive flow of lyrical themes, yet a dazzling variety of sounds and feels.
The band originally formed in 2009 as a sibling trio, with singer-songwriter Karen (formerly of Chattering Magpies), lead guitarist Mike Cardozo (also of Zikina), bassist Joe (of Cold Duck Complex). They debuted with Leap Year (engineered by Justin Pizzoferrato of Sonelab, and featuring Makaya McCraven on drums). In 2013, Karen and Mike joined forces with bassist Garrett Sawyer (of Gaslight Tinkers) and drummer Joe Fitzpatrick (of Trailer Park) .
With Something Better (2013), producers Mike and Garrett enveloped Karen's songwriting in the textures, rhythms, and arrangements of musical languages from folk-rock to jazz to West African to classical. Engineered by Garrett at Northfire Recording Studio in Amherst, collaborators included drummer Sturgis Cunningham, cellist Eric Remschneider (of many acts including Smashing Pumpkins), Jeff D'Antona (keyboards), Zoe Darrow (fiddle) and Tim Eriksen (backing vocals). One reviewer describes the album as
Trooted in folk-rock but laced with varying textures.... A song like "Bird of Hope" begins with Karen singing in her crystalline voice as she accompanies herself on acoustic guitar. Then, midway through, the drums and percussions come in followed by some plucky guitar, Sawyer's groove-heavy bass and some jazzy keyboards. Suddenly, what began as a dreamy folk song now has a world-music vibe that is beckoning us to the dance floor. That's the kind of disc this is, full of subtle shifts in moods and sounds that carry the listeners to a variety of different places, from the jazz-influenced "High" to the country flavored "Colorado," which features nice fiddle work from Zoe Darrow, to the upbeat "Walking Wounded." Karen Cardozo mines a wide range of emotions in her lyrics and she sings in a captivating voice. This is the kind of disc that you can spend hours listening to (Greenfield Recorder 11/7/13)
Show of Cards continues to push musical boundaries and defy genres, while always bringing the listener along in a search to discover new meaning and new perspective on our journey through life.