The thing that makes duos like Simon and Garfunkel, or the Indigo Girls so great is synergy: a one-plus-one-equals-three effect where the whole is even more beautiful than the individuals. It’s this synergy that makes CARNIVAL RAIN AND OTHER SLICES OF LIFE (2008) by the duo CRUSH VELVET (Carrie Lynn Kaplan and Diane Bostick) such a great CD. I have known Carrie Lynn from the early 1990’s when she co-hosted the Luna Star Café open mic (North Miami), and I recently met Diane when she and Carrie performed at Your Big Picture Café’s open mic (Davie). Alone, either of these artists is an inspiring and accomplished musician. Together, they create the synergy that make this CD so much fun. Co-writing, co-arranging and playing together, their eleven tracks were recorded with performances by Rob Koppleman, Nick Jason, Jack Stamates, Mitch Mestel, Donald Rappaport, Dave Nachmanoff, Stuart Hall, Daniel Wolpin and other talented musicians. The entire product was artfully mixed and mastered by Gary Grant Bosko. The CD opens with the ballad of THE BAREFOOT MAILMAN, a tribute to a lost piece of Florida history. Track two, WHEN I THINK OF YOU further displays Diane’s crystalline voice (think Bonnie Raitt with a hint of tremolo) and Carrie’s finely timed harmonies. From there, the CD showcases the breadth and width of this talented duo, with plaintiff songs like TWO SIDES OF SORRY, and humorous ones like LET ME ASK YOU THIS (of which Carrie does a great live solo version when she plays out). A Motown-Funk-Brother’s styled tambourine drives the back beat of CRUSHING BLUES, and a bee-bopping track titled WHOLLY SOCKS pays homage to our foot-hugging friends. There’s even a harmony recorder (think wind instrument) to serenade you through the title track CARNIVAL RAIN, and it all ends with their gentle, lullabying voices in AND I WHISPERED. This CD was a labor of love five years in the making, but for me it was instant fun from beginning to end. Diane Bostick currently lives in Syracuse, New York, but you can hear Carrie Lynn perform regularly on Saturday nights at You Big Picture Cafe’s open mic (4900 S. Univ. Dr., Davie).