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  • Jonathan Widran


On a purely musical level, June Bisantz & Gordon Morrell’s dual album It’s Been a Long Long Time is a heartfelt, beautifully rendered slice of musical nostalgia and a grand showcase for their still glorious vocal harmonies. More personally, the project – arranged, produced and featuring the versatile guitar colorings of David West – celebrates a 50+ year friendship and collaboration that has resulted over the years in countless club, concert and studio performances and multiple reunions.

No matter how successful they’ve been individually – and with Bisantz, that includes decades of recordings and countless public and private art projects – there’s something magical that happens when they join forces and effortlessly express themselves with a blend of bistro, New Orleans jazz, folk, pop and traditional country music. For the artists, who live on opposite sides of the U.S., the impetus for this charming seven song, 21-minute set was 2021, which marked a half century since they met and began working together. In addition to a charcoal rendering of their smiling faces, the cover art features their warmhearted mission statement: “Remember the CAREFREE California days…and then REAL LIFE! Now…hear their latest and greatest…THE FRIENDSHIP PROJECT.

There’s a sweet traditional, even old-timey flavor throughout, encouraging listeners to time travel along as they bridge past and present, alternating vocals and then harmonizing on gems like the romantic and whimsical “It’s Been A Long Long Time” (featuring violin and accordion), the buoyant, trumpet laced “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter,” the wistful yet hopeful Jimmie Rodgers classic “Any Old Time” and the gently resigned “I Wish You Love,” whose graceful accordion harmony reflects earlier, more hopeful times.

Bisantz and Morrell’s repertoire here includes the Gerry Goffin/Carole King classic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” rendered with a brass-tinged embrace of sultry Latin energy. Though the duo wraps the collection with a minute long coda of “Happy Trails,” here’s hoping this isn’t goodbye but an invitation to keep smiling until they actually do meet (and record) again.


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