"In pop music, stealth and restraint often go unheralded, yet these qualities are every bit as important as flash and dazzle; subtlety, in the right hands, can pack as much punch as obviousness. Husband-and-wife duo Michele and Rick Gedney, aka Open Book, know all of this, and their third CD, Grateful, exemplifies the low-key power of haunting melody buttressed with expansive harmony, the satisfaction of adroit wordplay entwined with skillfully understated musicianship. Perhaps you'd forgotten the deep pleasures of a pulsing beat switching from straight time to cut time, an undistorted Stratocaster layered over a bed of acoustic strumming, a lap steel mournfully keening at the edge of a song. Grateful will remind you.
Ace drummer Dave McNamara captured Grateful at the Gedneys' home in Cold Spring. He populates it with some of the Catskills' finest Americana musos, and their additions of color and feel help make this radio-ready collection shine. All originals but one are Michele's, and her distillation powers are impressive indeed; the title track is both longing and celebration; "This is Yours Now" makes loss a thing of breathless beauty; "The Earth Will Move" is whispered, but potent, encouragement. Meanwhile, Rick's accompaniment—as distinctive harmony vocalist, co-arranger, and guitarist—cannot be underestimated. Those Gedney harmonies get showcased to great effect on Open Book's take on Lennon and McCartney's "The Night Before"—rebooted here as a great ballad—and the Richard Thompson/Neil Finn folk-pop gem "Persuasion. Bittersweet rarely sounds so good, or needed"
Chronogram Magazine, September 1, 2015 - By Robert Burke Warren
"Open Book's songs build on Rick and Michele's beautiful and entwining harmonies, achiving an incantatory power"
Jim Motovalli, WPKN Radio
"Open Book is the working identity of Michele and Rick Gedney. Their music is an amalgam of folk inflected styles with tunes that concern themselves with love and loss, their music crosses into the urban landscape as easily as it inhabits and embraces it’s rural roots. The duo’s harmonies are sublime and tastefully evocative; their music is amply fulfilling and the structures incorporate sounds that travel far outside the standard instrumentation of the base genre to incorporate sounds from the city and world."
John Hammel, Homegrown Radio
"Open Book is a folk-rock duo, yes, but the big advantage of having two co-leaders in harmony and agreement rests on the spectrum of influence and experience each brings to the table...songcraft and soul-filling vocals of sterling quality..."
Thomas Staudter, The Gazette/The New York Times
"Blown away by the HARMONIES! People, they're exquisite....live, their vocals are really front and center where they damn well should be. Michele's pristine tone, at times
reminiscent of Shawn Colvin's, just soars and Rick's voice complements hers
beautifully...shines on his own too."
Sam Tallerico, WVKR Radio
"Following their auspicious debut album, "Out of Time," Rick and Michele Gedney have racheted things up several notches with their second album, "The Things We Keep." Right at home in the middle of a masterful mix of instruments, we hear the finest country/folk/rock harmonies since the Everly Brothers. Rubin's glass-like purity mixes perfectly with Gedney's soft delivery alongside a tastful mix of swirling slide guitar, mandolin, and atmospheric piano and more. The songs range from doubt to devotion, but are handled with conviction throughout. Richard Cuccaro -- Acoustic Live in NYC
"Intelligent and astute songwriting. Hot on the heels of their emerging artist showcase gig at this year's Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, singer-guitarists Michele Rubin and Rick Gedney—
Open Book—return with their second solid, folk-filled CD. The Things We Keep, like its tuneful predecessor, 2002's Out of Time, is an engaging amalgam of harmony vocals, tasty folk rock, and, most importantly, intelligent and astute songwriting that fully realizes that whatever the two songwriters are living through, most of their audience has also experienced. Unlike many contemporaries, the duo and its producer-guitarist, Billy Masters, know not to overproduce the music, and instead let the songs speak not only for themselves but to Open Book's deservedly growing audience. Evidence of this can be heard throughout the disc but radiates especially on the poppy lope of "Sing Me Love"; the evocative immediacy of my favorite track, "Springfield Avenue," which could be about any Main Street in the Hudson Valley; and the funky,
unwinding "There for You." Other folk rockers include the closing "See You Next Time"
and the chunky"New Direction Home."
Mike Jurkovic, Chronogram Magazine
" Their music is as intriguing as is their name. Most everyone remarks on Michele's unique voice. I can't describe it as anything but angelic. Rick's accompaniment adds the right ingredient for a good read. Open Book invites you into a cerebral landscape of contemplation and resolve. The questions are often introspective and shadowy. The answers are as ambiguous as they so often are in real life...a journey of the heart. Their song writing styles work so well together that the songs seem seamless as they flow into each other. Billy Masters did an incredible job at production and deserves much applause!!! Rick and Michele's studio artists included some of the industries finest; Mike Visceglia on bass (Suzanne Vega, Bette Midler and many others), Steve Hass on percussion (Ravi Coltrane, Billy Joel), and Billy Masters on guitar (Richard Shindell, Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky, Cry, Cry, Cry, Suzanne Vega). Open Book's debut CD, Out of Time, is a marvelous triumph! It has become one of my favorite easy listening CDs for both the home and car. I can't wait to hear what comes next." Rick Rock, Tribes Hill
"Every track has something that moves me, but if I 'had' to choose one for my desert island it would probably be 'Say a Prayer' - but could just as easily be 'Downstream' (I hear shades of Sandy Denny) or Indiana (makes me want to go there) etc, etc....great production too - he deserves a Masters Degree!) Really hope these little song pearls get found and brought to
the surface for all to hear.",
Paul Castle, Across The Pond
"Buy this CD, i promise it will be one of the things you keep! Zoe Montana, Music Director, RadioIO.COM
"Wow...what a great CD. All the sounds I love to hear in a contemporary folk-rock song are right there in the first minute of the album...and then those voices. Not to mention great musicians. I am definitely loving this CD."
Dan Herman, Radio Crystal Blue
"The true compatibility between the two is astonishing. Open Book do slide very easily through classification barriers making there own combination of folk, Americana, and some jazzy overtones to fill in the gaps. This is a pleasant journey, you can actually feel yourself getting lost in the music. It has the ability to make you feel a part of the music rather than a simple bystander. Sharing the role of lead vocalist, both Michele and Rick have the capability, but the magic of the harmonies is when the CD really shines. There is a theme to the music here and if you want the full effect you really have to listen to the album from start to finish. I recommend Out of Time, a good clean sound that comes from the soul and hits you in the heart."
"Michele and Rick Gedney share both lead vocals and songwriting throughout the recording of Out of Time whilst allowing their own individuality to come to the fore in the individual songs. In the case of Michele's song writing in particular (but reflected in Gedneys too) there are strong poetic and contemplative threads running throughout which is reflected in tracks particularly as "Everything has changed" and "Downstream". The first and title track of the CD provides a gentle but firm indication of what is to follow, Michele's smooth and silky vocals weave well with the string backing and Gedneys backing vocals . The duo have a tendency of making every word sound sincere, clearly the love the duo have of their craft comes through. The songs themselves are deceptively simple. This is one of these CD's with hidden depths, and deserves to be listened to again and again to strip away the different layers, a reflection perhaps of how well the whole thing hangs together. Often writing about bands its helpful (to the reader) to provide some kind of reference point. However in this case I couldn't think of such a comparison, whilst there are clearly influences the duo are clearly their own artists."
Graham Dixon, BBC Radio 3
Some thoughts from listeners:
“I’ve been re-familiarizing myself with your songs after not hearing them for a while, and I can’t stop listening. Your songs feel especially grounding and comforting this time around, maybe because of our especially dark, tribal, dishonest times. The honesty and beauty of the music, the vulnerability, mixed with the strength in your voice, the great guitar work, and the heartfelt truths in the lyrics are a kind of antidote to this moment, and somehow your songs call to one’s younger self and better times. They are the perfect mix of melancholy, optimism and hopfulness. The more I listen, the more I love your songs, and want to hear them again. Thank you for writing and producing them.”
" What a beautiful album! The choice and sequencing of songs is perfect; your performances are flawless and moving; and the production seems to have captured your sound just as I would hear it in my mind if thinking about your live performances. So congratulations on a great success, and many thanks for sharing your thoughtful and beautiful music with the world!"
"I love your harmonies and your writing. Terrific cd."
"I downloaded it a couple days ago and have been listening pretty much nonstop. It’s a really beautiful record. Everything sounds wonderful, it flows well, and the songs are great - including a few that I haven’t heard before, so either you were holding out or it’s just been awhile since I’ve seen you live. Looking forward to your release party and congratulations on a great achievement - you should be really happy with this."
"Wow! Just had a listen. So beautiful - and soulful. I'm Grateful too! - for this CD. I am so familiar & fond of your songs from editing that video, it's so great to hear them recorded so beautifully. I'm glad you kept the production simple and clean. Great sound!! You and Rick should be pleased and proud “parents”. Thanks for making it and enriching people's lives"
"Thank you for such a wonderful evening, I do not think you have ever sounded better. Needless to say Mark and your daughter were incredible as well. From the turn out last night you are much LOVED. After listening to the new CD several times, not only do I find the songs stunning BUT the production and sound to be amazing as well."
"Your show last night was so beautiful, been listening to the cd since you gave it to me, it makes me cry but I love it anyway, thanks so much."
"I was so excited to see you had a new CD! I finally got to listen to it my favorite way, on a road trip - love it! And so "grateful" to see that that song is on it (such a fitting title) - I remember being so moved by it at one of your concerts, when the passion for music makes you lose sleep but you don't care. So many good songs and your gorgeous harmonies - love "Second Chance", "Sounds like rain", your haunting rendition of "The night before" - your CD will be my new soundtrack for awhile."
"I did not get to talk to you but we were there and now I'm listening to your beautiful music in my car."
"Just want to give 2 giant thumbs up to Rick Gedney and Michele Gedney. of Open Book, who put out a new CD entitled "Grateful". The CD is delicious from beginning to end. They have a well-defined, laconic style and sound. The interesting guitar tunings and harmonies perk up your ears in the very best of ways."
"I just finished listening to Grateful (finally!). An hour of smiling, trying to figure out your harmonies, getting chills from the lyrics, and the wonderful memories of last summer when I first heard This Is Yours Now, Safe and Sound and your covers of Persuasion and The Night Before. In a spring with so many wonderful new albums out, yours really does stand out. Wishing you and Rick all the best and much success"
"Listening to your music is mesmerizing, peaceful, uplifting ... as is gazing at Rick's paintings. I could go on, but instead I'll just say thank you"
"I first saw you at Falcon Ridge in 2006 and have loved your music since, the beautiful harmonies, the haunting lyrics and exquisite melodies that touch the soul. Thank you for sharing your gifts. I hope that there will be another album coming. Have you ever played in the Adirondacks? We'd absolutely love a visit from you."
"I heard Open Book for the first time last night at a benefit concert. What a surprise, their harmonies, guitars and vocals, were mesmerizing. I am now a big fan. Looking forward to listening to the 2 CDs I picked up at the event and seeing them again soon!"
"Hello Rick and Michele, I so enjoyed your show with Marc VonEm last night at the Howland in Beacon! Just can't figure out why I am just becoming an "Open Book" fan! Michele you have such a beautiful voice that resonated deep with every word of every song you performed. The way all of you combined complemented each other was so soulfully charged that I look forward to seeing all of you again in the future. I became a fan of Marc's in 2009 during Art at Night in PA, seeing him perform a couple more times at the Peekskill coffee house, finally getting out again last night! I'm so thrilled that I was fortunate to see Open Book, hearing such synchronized electric acoustics with melodies that were simply from the heart. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us...Bravo-Bravo-Bravo!"
"Michele's shimmering beautiful meolodies fill my iPhone, and is the only voice competing with Maura O'Connell. I look forward to your next disk."
"Dear Open Book, It feels a little cruel of the universe to bring these songs written by "Open Book" on the very same day that Shawn Colvin announces she will write her memoirs. Then to discover that you sing as beautifully as she does with the same timbre and pure, pure, pure tone but with that gorgeous harmony...I don't know what I'm going to do. Music like this just takes you to places where you know you must make decisions about how you will live your life and how you will love. Best wishes to you. May you be sustained in your love and passion for music. It's a blessing to have been brought to your threshold this way."
"Dear Michele and Rick, I was so impressed with your performance last night. Although I had seen you before and knew you were good, the sound quality didn't show-case your vocals as well as at Cold Spring. Your harmonies are so effortless and pure. I'll be contacting you soon to pick up some material from you guys--I'd like to really delve into your songs and concentrate on the lyrics. Sorry, I was so caught up in your vocals, I missed alot of them! I really enjoyed the duo guitar playing too--it's obvious that you both work very hard at your craft! Keep up the good work!"
"We met last night, near the end of the evening, and my friend and I loved hearing you and Rick play last night! I am so delighted to discover your music, and its so beautiful and gorgeous and pure, pure magic! My friend had had a really long hard day and some recent difficult times -- and her face just glowed and totally changed to one of joy -- hearing your songs last night. It was remarkable! So, a big thank you -- for coming to the Depot. I didn't have enough cash to get a CD last night, but I'll definetely order one or pick one up at your next show, now that I know about you! Just had a great time hearing some of your songs on your site, and reading about Open Book. Hoping to make the April 25 show at Columbia -as I work in the city. You and Rick are amazing together! "
"I heard you a while back at the Paramount for "Share the Beat" I absolutely loved what I heard! I write and sing myself, as you can see from my page, but I usually listen to singer songwriters in and around my age because they have a lot in common with me and write about things I can relate to at certain times in my life. When I heard you guys play, I felt the same exact way. It's amazing how music can be timeless. The fact that your group is as old as my parents but can really touch me, as a 20 year old is really something amazing. Anyways enough of this epic novel! Just wanted to drop by as a fellow musician and give some feedback!"
"You lit up the Golden Apple Coffeehouse tonight! I love the beautiful, rich sound of your band and your songs. Thanks so much"
"WOW! Your performance just blew me away! I could of listened to you all night. Your lyrics recalled many bitter sweet memories in my own life. And the music was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes at the time. I am throughly enjoying your two cd's. I've played them over and over since sat. night."
"I just received the CDs I ordered over your website a few days ago... Wow, that was fast! Thanks! I got to know you listening to FolkAlley.com. Otherwise I would never heard your music because this kind of music style is not very common on swiss radio."
"This record and this musical duo is my bigest discovery in 2006. Michele Rubin and Rick Gedney with Bill Masters who is the album’s arranger, made a high level product in the acoustic folk. So anyone would ask that what new can they say in this acoustic folk music? But if you listen to "The Things We Keep" for the first time, then you can hear a fresh, original new sound on your CD-player. Gorgeous harmonies, amazing electric-acoustic guitar accompaniments, and beautiful lyrics. Michele Rubin’s and Rick Gedney’s voice together are fantastic mixture of the powerful and lyrical vocal tone. I have no doubt, you will melt away by every track, if you like the good music. I am in awe of this first class album and therefore Open Book is the top of my own music collection now. I do think you will enjoy it. Highly recommended...."
"I heard New Direction Home on my way to work one afternoon (on the public radio station) and wrote the title down and then looked it up online at JPR to get the full details. Went to your website from there and took a chance and ordered both CDs. I have heard both CDs now and really love your music- your voices together are beautiful and I like the way you each have written your own songs. Very poetic. I especially love the instrumentals in New Direction Home. I look forward to hearing more of you."
"Some of the touchingly sweet music I've ever heard. Celebrate yourselves, your music... you beautiful music makers."
"1st time hearing you - got your link off of the Pleasantville music festival. Wow! I've been playing you all day at work and will order your music-play on!"
"We heard you a month or so ago at the Elm City Song Circle in Hamden, & I'm finally writing to say how much we both enjoyed hearing your music. Thoughtful songs, great music & voices, & we've been enjoying your album since then. Best wishes to you!"
"Hello... My son just called from NY...he attends the Repetory School of Manhatten and caught your show at St Pauls last night. He's l7......i just wanted you to know how very much he enjoyed Open Book. It is a wonderful and warm experience to have one's children suggest good music !! He and I listened to Open Book together online and one of my friends in WI listened with us!! Continued success to you and this wonderful music!"
Hi y'all! Just wanted to say that I was really impressed with your performance at our house concert Friday night! (Beecher House Peekskill) It was a real treat to hear your music. And, it was a pleasure talking "guitar" with you! hehe
"Hi y'all! Just wanted to say that I was really impressed with your performance at our house concert Friday night! (Beecher House Peekskill) It was a real treat to hear your music."
"I received your CD and info today for booking at the WVWINERY...and am listening to your music as I type my response. I was going to sit down to watch a movie tonight, but I am glued....listening with enchantment! Wonderful stuff!!! Both your voices are scintillatingly soothing with such a beautiful blend of harmonies and great instrumentation. Great Contemporary music! Glad to know of you and hope to hear you in person soon!"
"Hi, My husband and I were down in Nevis, West Indies about 10 days ago. We went on a sailing/snorkeling trip one day on the boat "Caona". The captain/owner/builder of the boat was a man named Lenox, he was playing your CD on the boat's speakers as we sailed on the Carribean Sea to a little cove off St. Kitts. It was a perfect day and the music was SO nice. By the time the CD got to Peaceful Island I just HAD to know who it was. Imagine sailing in the sunshine on the Carribean with THAT playing! It was just so perfect. He showed me the case and when I got home I looked for it on Amazon, without success, and Borders, and Barnes and Noble and then I did a Google search and found you. Pleased as punch, I ordered it right away and am enjoying listening to it at home and it takes me back to that perfect day. Do you by chance know Lenox? Maybe you've been to Nevis, or maybe he had heard you somewhere, he told me you were a couple from New York. If you ever play at a club in the Chicago area or down in Chapel Hill, NC (I go there sometimes) I hope you could let me know. Good luck to you both and thanks for your wonderful music."