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Solid Air: Reviews

Solid Air’s ‘Beautiful World,’ a musical plea for kindness and compromise



Local Review


This week: “Beautiful World,” Solid Air, Jackalope Records,, CD Baby, $12.97 CD, $9.99 download

Hear them live: 2 to 4 p.m. June 25, Corte Madera Town Center Plaza; free 

Participate: If you or your band are from Marin with an album or EP to be reviewed, send a CD and contact info to Press Play, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael 94903


In these divisive times, it’s comforting to hear an album like Solid Air’s “Beautiful World,” a collection of nine Americana songs with messages of peace, compassion and human understanding.

This is the ninth full-length studio album from singer-guitarist Allegra Broughton and multi-instrumentalist Sam Page, a Grammy-nominated North Bay couple married for more than 30 years.

They wrote seven of the nine songs on “Beautiful World,” including the bouncy, upbeat title track that references “Satchmo’s” (Louis Armstrong) “What a Wonderful World” and beams with light-hearted good advice like, “Why not try listening” instead of making hello sound “like a knife in the back.”



With her dependable, experienced and solid folk singer’s voice, Broughton handles lead vocals on all the songs, carrying on in the tradition of Rosalie Sorrels and Kate Wolfe. On the acoustic guitar strummer “Say Now,” she makes a plea for kindness and asks, “Whatever happened to reason, you know it’s not treason just to compromise.”

The couple chose two tasteful covers that fit snugly into the positive theme of this inspired collection of tunes. Especially poignant is their acoustic rendition of Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s poignant “Love & Mercy,” featuring sweet guitar interludes by Russ Gauthier.



They end the CD with a kind of talking acoustic blues cover of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky.” The tune sails along on Vic Carberry’s coffeehouse conga drumming, Doug Adamz’ wailing harmonica and Page’s acoustic bass and baritone slide guitar. All Garth plays some sprightly jazz violin on the Broughton-Page original “Blue Devil Street.”

It’s nice to know that a seasoned duo like Solid Air hasn’t forgotten the sense of purpose of progressive forebears like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, singing songs that fight back against cynicism and darkness with good humor and good will.

“Built around the songwriting-singing duo of Allegra Broughton and Sam Page... can breeze through sunny-day acoustic folk; and rock harder as a quartet, deepening the grooves and sharpening the bluesy edges. With Broughton's throaty vocals out front, the crisply produced CD's 10 original songs stand up well in the company of Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm" and Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," fitting into the same engaging alternative, country-tinged, folk-rock fold that embraces Lucinda Williams and Mare Winningham.”, Derk Richardson, SF BAY GUARDIAN ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Derk Richardson - S.F. Bay Guardian
“Great Alterna-Country rockin’ band from northern California...Broughton warbles like a bird in one breath and rocks hard when the material demands it."
Bob Cianci - River Reporter, New York
“Somewhere between the We Five and 10,000 Maniacs”
“Soulfully incandescent vocals; an enormously gifted band”
Chris Garcia - Press Democrat
****4 Stars
In the Americana music scene it's, without any doubt, one of the best releases for this year. "Tailgates and Subsitutes" includes 10 original songs and 2 beautiful covers. Let's start with the covers, because most of you will know them: "You Ain't Going Nowhere" (Bob Dylan). The title of the CD comes from this song and it has a shakin' mid-tempo version, sang with the artful voice of singer Allegra Broughton and her flowing 12-string guitar melting away. Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm" has an intro that fits perfectly into "Lay Down Sally" and is more beautiful with the 3-voice harmony singing. Two times bingo.

Solid Air's own songs are even better than the covers of the grand masters and they are as good as the best writing of people such as Lucinda Williams (If You Took The Time), 10.000 Maniacs (In The Summertime, Taste Of Love), Gram Parsons (Whistle Of The Wheels) and Emmylou Harris. Also sounds of Richard & Linda Thompson are recognised (Old Salt Pail) and the last song (Wrap It Around Your Finger) reminds us to Chi Coltrain's (Go Like Elijah). For us, enjoyable references. For people who enjoy "Americana Roots Music", don't miss this one."Tailgates and Subsitutes" is a more than beautiful CD. Discover this band.
Dany Heyvaert - Roots Town Music Magazine. Belgium
Solid Air is a Bay Area-based alternative folk-country rock outfit. The band's latest disc, Tailgates And Substitutes (Globe Records), is an unpretentious set of refreshing covers and originals. The country-rock of "Whistle Of The Wheels" and the more rootsy rock of "Take A Walk" are impressive, while "In The Summertime" evokes a good-time pop sensibility. The group also offers up a nice arrangement of Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm," which features a good vocal from Allegra Broughton.
Mick Skidmore - Relix Magazine
“Solid Air comes in two configurations. There’s the original duet of Allegra Broughton on vocals and acoustic guitars, and Sam Page, who seems to be able to play anything that he can lay his hands on, and then there’s the band version; Local Color is a product of the band version, and it’s a winner. Stylistically, the disc ranges from the bluesy inflected “Troublemaker”, (nice harp by Norton Buffalo), “Borderline” with a Mex-type accordion line, a straight-ahead country-rocker like “Rockaway My Cares”, (great fiddle), “Sticks and Stones”, a traditional ballad, to my favourite, “Pioneers”, life on the ‘Great New Western Frontier’, an incisive bit of California social commentary.”
Feature Article, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, 1995
Dale Miller - Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Emcee/Host(Allegra) - Napa Valley Music Festival Songwriter Showcase, 1993-1999

Zimmerman Humanitarian Award (from Napa Music Festival to Allegra Broughton), 1999
Napa Music Festival
Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriter Finalists, 1989
Kerrville Folk Festival
S.F. Weekly’s WAMMIES Awards Nomination, 1992
San Francisco Weekly
Fast Folk Music Magazine, 1994 (Featured song, “Postcard”)
Fast Folk Magazine
Top Folk Playlist, Univ. of MA/Dartmouth WSMU, 1995
WSMU Radio

"Melissa Etheridge meets Bruce Hornsby in a Nashville type of thing"

Dirty Linen Magazine
"...writing is solid and unpretentious. Broughton & Page's voices blend and wrap you up like faded denim and leather."
Performing Songwriter Magazine
"Folk-rock with splashes of country, celtic, and jazz. Smooth and breezy, familiar yet original."
Folk Roots Magazine
CD "Local Color" (GLOBE RECORDS) nominated for a Grammy.
"Local Color" CD - 2005 Nominees -
Nominated for Award in Folk/Acoustic Category
Bohemian News, Harmony Events - 2006 NORTH BAY MUSIC AWARDS