Everyone can agree that coronavirus has made the world a smaller place. Everyone is sharing the experience – and while mostly negative, there are some positives. For instance, collaborations that may not have occurred in the past due to insurmountable travel have become commonplace. Which brings us to “Songs Across the Pond,” a concept album about the transcontinental friendship between British children’s musician David Gibb (Belper, Derbyshire, to be exact) and North American recording artist Brady Rymer (the pride of Southold, New York).
Both musicians are long-time favorites, “locally sourced” in their native cities. David’s outreach to Brady turned into a road trip and EP, which evolved into a full 12-song album that began before a global pandemic shuttered the chance for dual live gigs performing together to promote it (that’s being turned into virtual engagements).
“Songs Across the Pond” starts with the melodic “Across the Pond” (a reference to a little thing called the Atlantic Ocean) and moves through “Two Towns,” a tribute to iconic attributes of each’s communities. For kids whose only exposure to England is through 60s music, “Living in a Beatles Song” crams as many references as possible into a three-minute tune, including Penny Lane, twist and shout, drive my car, across the universe, Mister Mustard, strawberry fields, Mister Kite, Sgt. Pepper, all you need is love, etc.
Brady gives a large share of the spotlight to David, who is lesser known in the larger American market. Gibb takes full advantage, with the upbeat “Get Up with Me and Dance” and “Travelling David.” The duo fluently trades off vocals, such as the title track and the British roads-inspired “Roundabouts.” On “You Say This, I Say That,” they contrast the vernacular of their respective countries, before agreeing “A friend is a friend wherever you go.”
“Songs Across the Pond” is a nifty little summer curio, complete with a pair of iconic cover tunes, Sam Cooke’s “Twisting the Night Away” and Cat Stevens’ “If You Want to Sing Out.” It’s the ideal conversation starter to explain to your little ones what lies beyond the horizon. You can talk about the people who live there, across the pond, and how our worlds will one day meet again, in person, not through a computer monitor.
Here is the video for their song, “Two Towns”: