It's unfortunate for this to be my first post after having been away from here for almost two months, but this is all that has moved me to do so in as long. I'm devastated to have found out that Blue Merle has split up after just one studio album together.
Not only my absolute favorite album in a long time, these guys were my only hope for the beginning of a new sound - a break from the recent onslaught of sensitive acoustic singer/songwriter-type groups and solo acts. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of this genre - Dave Matthews, David Gray, Coldplay, Howie Day, Jason Mraz - they rank among my favorites. But there's been a seemingly endless overflow of this sound recently (John Mayer, Pete Yorn, Jack Johnson, James Blunt, Teitur, Daniel Powter, Maroon 5), and it's beginning dilute into a mush of sensitive guys, precarious lyrics, tortured voices, and unfortunately an increasingly familiar sound. These are all great bands, but the sound has become so pervasive that it's now becoming monotonous.
It seems to be the easiest route into the mainstream these days, and few artists seem to be brave enough to break out of pure emotional song writing into creating a truly unique sound. Blue Merle was the first band that I've heard since David Gray to really bring an authentically new sound to a genre that's so widely over-done. Their music was simply brilliant.
Hopefully they were around long enough to spark something - I would hate for this album to get lost among the wreckage of the rest.
UPDATE: Lucas Reynolds (of Blue Merle) has put out a 6 song CD of his solo recordings called The Space Between the Lines. Available here.