Spiritual Journey

It's ironic that this veteran husband-and-wife guitar/vocals duo open the liner notes to Taking the Long Way Home with the disclaimer, "When we began making this CD, we had no particular destination in mind." Because listening to the album, one can't help but think it was prompted by some cataclysmic loss or spiritual event. In any event, Taking the Long Way Home ranks as one of Tuck & Patti's richest, most spiritual forays, with poetic lyrics punctuating their usual blend of emotional voice-and-guitar pleasantries.

Things begin with the playful title track, on which Tuck's muted, jumpy lines dance behind Patti's chipper intonations. On the softhearted ballad "Ready To Love" (RealAudio excerpt) (which mimics the duo's classic "Takes My Breath Away" in its pure romantic dreaminess), Patti advises us to say "thank you" to everyone, " 'cause when they're gone you won't get another chance." This urging to live for the moment informs the rest of the album, from the carpe diem sentiment of "Take This Feeling" (RealAudio excerpt) to the haunting elegy "Song for the Souls That Go Before" to "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" (RealAudio excerpt), which ticks off clever ways to cultivate everlasting love.

Patti is, as always, the dominant emotional force behind the duo, but Tuck lets us enjoy his plucky chops on the all-instrumental "Early Morning Music Box."

Tuck & Patti are tremendously likeable, but their simple dual approach sometimes makes the songs blend into one another, despite variation in tone. For best results, take each of these songs — and their amazing lyrics — one by one.