July 21, 2018

Nanci Griffith: Winter Marquee

Rounder Records 11661-3220-2

Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 2002
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk, Folk Rock
[Tracklist]
01 Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (4:40)
02 I Wish It Would Rain (2:36)
03 Boots Of Spanish Leather (6:34)
04 Two For The Road (2:59)
05 Listen To The Radio (3:51)
06 There's A Light Beyond These Woods (Mary Margaret) (4:46)
07 Gulf Coast Highway (3:32)
08 The Flyer (4:46)
09 Good Night, New York (5:06)
10 Traveling Through This Part Of You (4:19)
11 Last Train Home (3:05)
12 I'm Not Drivin' These Wheels (Bring The Prose To The Wheel) (3:40)
13 What's That I Hear (4:08)
14 White Freight Liner (5:01)
[Credits]
Nanci Griffith (guitar/vocals) Le Ann Etheridgeh (guitar/vocals) Ron De La Vega (bass/vocals) James Hooker (keyboards/vocals) Chas Williams (dobro/guitar) Pat McInerney (drums)
Producer: Monty Hitchcock, Engineer: Dean Norman and Mark Lambert
[Notes]
Artistically speaking, Nanci Griffith has been in somewhat of a funk since 1998's Other Voices, Too. 1999's The Dust Bowl Symphony offered a syrupy greatest-hits package and 2001's Clock Without Hands, her first new material in several years, seemed both over-produced and overwrought. To further muddy the picture, Rounder released three early Griffith albums in 2002, reminding listeners how well she could write. Also released by Rounder, the live Winter Marquee is the first new album Griffith has released on the label since the mid-'80s. Following the reissues, it seems like something of a homecoming. The straightforward, hour-long set is made up of old favorites, a couple recent pieces, and a few covers. Accompanied by a country-folk band, Griffith's vocals take center stage to offer fine versions of "I'm Not Drivin' These Wheels" and "The Flyer." She's in great voice, and one of the pleasures of her music has always been the way she lovingly lingers over phrases for emphasis. She's joined by a couple of special guests, including Emmylou Harris on "Good Night, New York" and Tom Russell on "What's that I Hear" and "White Freight Liner." The set is also strengthened by the inclusion of less-frequently covered pieces like "There's a Light Beyond These Woods." While Winter Marquee may lack the spark of an early album like Once in a Very Blue Moon, fans will enjoy this live set. (AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.)

July 19, 2018

The Bergerfolk Sing For Joy

Folkways Records FA-32415

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1971
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk
[Tracklist]
A1 I'll Fly Away (2:24)
A2 Who Killed Cock Robin? (4:48)
A3 What'll We Do With The Drunken Sailor (2:53)
A4 What'll We Do With The Baby-O (1:31)
A5 The Bowery / Yankee Doodle / Tom Dooley (1:24)
A6 We Are Going To The Zoo (1:40)
A7 Roll On Columbia (2:05)
A8 Amazing Grace (1:41)
B1 Deportees (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos) (4:49)
B2 I'm Gonna Mail Myself To You (1:26)
B3 Jesse James (3:12)
B4 Shule Aroon (2:13)
B5 Baby Tree (1:49)
B6 Plastic Grass (1:22)
B7 Day Is Done (3:39)
[Credits]
The Bergerfolk: Steve Berger (banjo), Phoebe Berger, Claudia Berger, Jennifer Anne Berger, Margaret Louise Berger, Jonathan Glenn Berger and Emily-Kate Berger
Designer: Ronald Clyne, Photographer: Mort Mace and Donald Clyne
[Notes]
The musical family band Bergerfolk performs a collection of traditional, modern, and original folk songs on this, the first of 4 albums they recorded for Folkways Records. The family consists of dentist and banjo player Steve Berger, his wife Phoebe, and their five children: Claudia, Jennifer, Margaret, Jonathan and Emily. The Bergerfolk lend their vocals and instrumentation to renditions of traditional tunes, including "Amazing Grace" "What'll We Do with the Drunken Sailor" and "I’ll Fly Away". The group covers two songs written and originally recorded by Woody Guthrie: "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)" and "I'm Gonna Mail Myself to You". They also perform two original songs written by Phoebe Berger: "We Are Going to the Zoo" and "Plastic Grass". The album closes with "Day Is Done" penned by Peter Yarrow of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. An introduction by Phoebe Berger and all song lyrics are included in the liner notes.

July 16, 2018

Dolly Parton Interview


Singer-songwriter Dolly Parton discusses her Imagination Library children's literacy program and her new partnership with the Library of Congress. For transcript and more information, please visit: https://goo.gl/XBptFM

July 13, 2018

Jim & Jesse: Songs From The Homeplace

Pinecastle PRC 1082 CD

Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 1998
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Bluegrass
[Tracklist]
A1 East Bound Freight Train (2:36)
A2 Dreaming Of A Little Cabin (3:16)
A3 Give Me Your Love And I'll Give You Mine (2:39)
A4 Worried Man Blues (2:42)
A5 Faded Love And Winter Roses (2:38)
A6 Jimmy Brown The News Boys (2:45)
B1 The End Of Memory Lane (2:46)
B2 No Letter In The Mail Today (2:50)
B3 Keep On The Sunny Side Of Life (2:46)
B4 I'll Be An Angel Too (2:57)
B5 My Time Is Running Out (2:58)
B6 My Long Journey Home (2:14)
[Credits]
Jim McReynolds (guitar/vocals) Jesse McReynolds (mandolin/vocals) Allen Shelton (dobro) Roy Husky Jr. (bass) Carl Jackson (fiddle/guitar) Mike Scott (banjo) Steve Thomas (fiddle) Scotty Blevins (bass) Emmylou Harris (vocals)
Producer: Tom Riggs and Carl Jackson, Designer: Rebecca Pittard, Photographer: Kitsy Kuykendall, Engineer: Scotty Blevins and John Eberle
[Notes]
On Songs From the Homeplace, the veteran bluegrass duo Jim & Jesse cover songs that they learned growing up in Virginia and that have continued to have a special place with them throughout their career. The aging McReynolds brothers are still in fine throat here and offer up strong versions of tunes by the Carter Family, Grandpa Jones, and Cliff Carlisle, among others. The vocals of Emmylou Harris (who is fast becoming the most ubiquitous album guest in the music industry) meld nicely with the brothers on the plaintive "No Letter in the Mail Today." While possessing a less-haunting sound than peers such as Ralph Stanley (and despite a run at commercial country at one point), the McReynolds brothers are original bluegrass masters. And anytime you hear Jim & Jesse's vocal tones merging together and Jesse's distinctive cross-picking on the mandolin, you're staring down bluegrass history. (AllMusic Review by Erik Hage)

July 11, 2018

Epilogue: A Tribute to John Duffey

Smithsonian Folkways CD SFW 40228

Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 2018
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Bluegrass
[Tracklist]
01 Sad and Lonesome Day: Randy Waller and Lou Reid (2:36)
02 If That's the Way You Feel: Amanda Smith (3:20)
03 If I Were a Carpenter: Jonathan Edwards (2:44)
04 Lonesome River: Dudley Connell (2:56)
05 Sunrise: Sam Bush and Béla Fleck (3:22)
06 Going to the Races: James King (1:59)
07 Some Old Day: John Cowan (2:43)
08 Girl from the North Country: Steve Gulley (3:32)
09 He Was a Friend of Mine: Dudley Connell and John Cowan (3:08)
10 Poor Ellen Smith: Tim O'Brien (2:22)
11 Reason For Being: Fred Travers (3:16)
12 Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow: Don Rigsby (2:41)
13 Chim-Chim-Cher-Ee: Bruce Molsky (1:27)
14 Cold Wind a Blowin': Ronnie Bowman and Lou Reid (2:15)
15 Christmas Time Back Home: John Duffey Tribute All-Stars (3:13)
16 Bringing Mary Home: John Starling (3:48)
17 First Tear: Akira Otsuka (1:22)
[Crerdits]
Producers: Akira Otsuka and Ronnie Freeland, Annotation: Katy Daley, Dudley Connell and Jeff Place, Photographers: Charles Tompkins and Nobuharu Komoriya, Editor: Carla Borden, Engineers: Rick Watson, Bill Wolf, Greg Lukens, Brent Truitt and Phil Rosenthal
[Notes]
John Duffey's influence on bluegrass cannot be overstated. His contributions to legendary bands The Country Gentlemen and The Seldom Scene helped transform the genre from a regional Appalachian music to a sophisticated, urban sound, resulting in a legion of new fans the world over. On Epilogue, the bluegrass music community comes together to create a marvelously fitting tribute to "the father of modern bluegrass." Sam Bush, John Cowan, Béla Fleck, Bruce Molsky, Tim O'Brien, Don Rigsby, and so many more—it’s a rare and special all-star cast. Their eagerness and passion to record the album attest to how profoundly Duffey impacted them and countless other musicians today. 46 minutes, 44-page booklet with extensive notes and photos.

July 6, 2018

Laurie Lewis & Her Bluegrass Pals

Rounder Records ROUNDER-11661-0461-2

Format: CD, HDCD, Album
Country: US
Released: 1999
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Bluegrass
[Tracklist]
01 Tall Pines (3:17)
02 Stepping Stones (4:16)
03 Blow, Big Wind (2:53)
04 Going To The West (4:20)
05 When I Get Home (2:35)
06 Black Waters (5:04)
07 Big Eddy (3:16)
08 Acony Bell (3:04)
09 Wind At Play (3:32)
10 Weevily Wheat (3:04)
11 Hard Luck And Trouble (3:05)
12 The Wood Thrush's Song (3:09)
13 Beyond The River Bend (4:31)
[Credits]
Laurie Lewis (fiddle/guita/vocals) Tom Rozum (mandolin/vocals) Mary Gibbons (guitar/harmony) Craig Smith (banjo) Todd Phillips (bass) Mary Gibbons(guitar)
Designer: Angelynn Grant, Photographer: Jon Sievert, Liner Notes: Neil Rosenberg and Laurie Lewis, Engineers: Tom Size, Ken Lee, Dave Wellhausen and Matt Campagna
[Notes]
Laurie Lewis comes full circle and brings a batch of her friends together for an inspired session of straight-ahead bluegrass. There's an empathy to the playing of Lewis with mandolinist Tom Rozum, banjoist Craig Smith, bassist Todd Phillips, and rhythm guitarist Mary Gibbons that grows on you as the album unfolds with the strong trio singing of Lewis, Gibbons, and Rozum that's equally as seductive. Highlights include "Tall Pines," Jimmy Martin's "Stepping Stones," Jean Ritchie's "Black Waters," "Acony Bell," and Lewis' own "Wind at Play," "Blow, Big Wind," and "Big Eddy." An inspired session. (AllMusic Review by Cub Koda)

July 2, 2018

Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels On A Gravel Road

Mercury P2-58338

Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 1998
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style:
Country, Folk
[Tracklist]
01 Right In Time (4:35)
02 Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (4:44)
03 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten (4:42)
04 Drunken Angel (3:20)
05 Concrete And Barbed Wire (3:08)
06 Lake Charles (5:28)
07 Can't Let Go (3:28)
08 I Lost It (3:31)
09 Metal Firecracker (3:30)
10 Greenville (3:23)
11 Still I Long For Your Kiss (4:09)
12 Joy (4:01)
13 Jackson (3:42)
[Credits]
Lucinda Williams (guitar/vocals) Jim Lauderdale (vocals) Buddy Miller, Steve Earle, Bo Ramsey, Buddy Miller, Charlie Sexton, Gurf Morlix, Johnny Lee Schell, Bo Ramsey, Buddy Miller, Charlie Sexton, Gurf Morlix and Johnny Lee Schell (guitar) Buddy Miller (mandoguitar) Roy Bittan (accordion) Roy Bittan (organ) John Ciambotti (bass) Donald Lindley (drums)
Producer: Roy Bittan, Designer: Jeffdidthis, Art Directer: Margery Greenspan, Photographers: Miller Williams, Birney Imes, Shelby Lee Adams and Alan Messer, Engineers: Ed Thacker, Steve Churchyard, Hank Williams, Jim Scott and Rick Rubin
[Notes]
It's not that the performances on Car Wheels on a Gravel Road aren't first-rate — they are. It's just that when you start with songs this impressive, it's hard to go wrong. Lucinda Williams had done strong work before, but it all came together here. From the openhearted yearning of "Right in Time" to the surrealist country funk of "Joy," she runs a gamut of styles and themes, handling each with authority and ease. You don't arrive in your mid-forties without stories to tell — Williams' are riveting in every detai. (Rolling Stone)

June 30, 2018

Doc Watson: Live At Club 47

Yep Roc Records YEP-2499

Format: Vinyl, 2LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 2018
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk
[Tracklist]
A1 Wabash Cannonball (3:47)
A2 The House Carpenter (5:23)
A3 I Wish I Was Single Again (3:37)
A4 Little Darling Pal of Mine (3:00)
A5 Train That Carried My Girl from Town (4:31)
A6 Worried Blues (2:53)
B1 Old Dan Tucker (2:36)
B2 Sweet Heaven When I Die (3:04)
B3 Doc's Talkin' Blues (4:18)
B4 Little Margaret (3:09)
B5 Sitting On Top of the World (2:25)
B6 Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down (3:45)
B7 Blue Smoke (1:34)
C1 Deep River Blues (3:07)
C2 Way Downtown (2:54)
C3 Somebody Touched Me (3:39)
C4 Billy in the Low Ground (1:44)
C5 Boil Them Cabbage Down (2:14)
C6 Everyday Dirt (2:39)
D1 I Am a Pilgrim (3:31)
D2 No Telephone in Heaven (2:54)
D3 Hop High Ladies the Cake's All Dough (1:12)
D4 Little Sadie (2:26)
D5 Black Mountain Rag (2:07)
D6 Blackberry Rag (1:29)
D7 Days of My Childhood Plays ( 2:18)
[Credits]
Doc Watson (guitar/autoharp/banjo/harmonica/vocals) Ralph Rinzler (mandolin/harmony) John Herald (guitar/harmony)
Producer: Steve Weiss, Liner Notes: Mary Katherine Aldin, Photographers: David Gahr, John Cohen, Hugh Morton, Eugene Earle and Daniel Seeger, Engineers: Mike Eisenstadt, Brent Lambert, John Loy and Brian Paulson
[Notes]
In the mid-'60s, Doc Watson rose from relative obscurity to become one of the leading lights of American folk music, displaying a dazzling flatpicking technique on the guitar and an encyclopedic knowledge of old-timey and traditional music. Watson was just starting to make a name for himself as a solo act (and was a few months away from his breakthrough performance at the Newport Folk Festival) when, in February 1963, he played Boston's venerable folk music venue Club 47, where he quickly became a favorite of the New England cognoscenti. A local music fan, Michael Eisenstadt, brought a professional-grade tape recorder to the show, and 55 years later, the show has been given a commercial release by Yep Roc Records as Live at Club 47. The audio is remarkably crisp and clear despite being recorded with a single microphone, and it captures Watson in splendid form. It should surprise no one that Watson was picking up a storm on guitar this evening, as well as showing he was a sure hand on banjo and autoharp. But Live at Club 47 is a vivid reminder of how personable and engaging Watson could be performing in front of an audience. Playing in a small room, Watson's simple but expressive vocals are superb, finding humor and drama in these songs, which he delivers with genuine warmth and sincerity. If there are moments when Watson seems to be playing up his hillbilly roots for the sake of the Big City audience, there's no arguing that he knew how to work a crowd and get an honest laugh. Watson seems fully engaged and having a great time on Live at Club 47, and the set list is a treasure trove of essential American folk tunes (including a few he never got around to recording in the studio). Live at Club 47 doesn't reveal much that's unknown about the artistry of Doc Watson, but the good humor and intimacy of this performance are irresistible, and it's as pleasing a document of Doc Watson in concert as you could ask for. (AllMusic Review by Mark Deming)

June 28, 2018

Bryan Bowers: The View from Home

Flying Fish FF-037

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1977
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk
[Tracklist]
A1 Blackberry Blossom (2:13)
A2 St. Anne's Reel (2:37)
A3 Golden Slippers (2:10)
A4 Black Jack Davey (3:27)
A5 Liberty (2:39)
A6 Satisfied Mind (4:35)
B1 Red Haired Boy (2:18)
B2 Walkin' In Jerusalem (1:56)
B3 Rights Of Man (3:55)
B4 Simple Gifts (2:42)
B5 Fisher's Hornpipe (2:08)
B6 Gold Watch & Chain (1:49)
B7 The View From Home (2:21)
[Credits]
Bryan Bowers (autoharp/vocals) John Starling (guitar/vocals) Mike Auldridge (dobro/vocals) Claudia Schmidt (zither/vocals) Sam Bush (mandolin) Curtis Burch (guitar) Howard Levy (accordion) Ben Eldridge and Courtney Johnson (banjo) Kenny Bloom (bandura) Adele Welland (autoharp) Jim Post and Steve Goodman (vocals) John Cowan and Tom Gray (bass)
Photographers: Marc PoKempner and Dick Marvin, Designer: Bob McCamant, Engineers: Michael Rasfeld, Bill McElroy, Fred Breitberg and Garth Fundis
[Notes]
This album is dedicated to Pop Stoneman, Kilby Snow, Sarah and Maybelle Carter, Bill Clifton, Mike Seeger, and all autoharps held in closets, basements, and artics across the nation.

June 22, 2018

Joe Glazer: The Songs of Joe Hill

Folkways Records FA-2039

Format: Vinyl, LP, 10", Album, Repress
Country: US
Released: 1954
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk
[Tracklist]
A1 Joe Hill (2:40)
A2 We Will Sing One Song (2:06)
A3 Scissor Bill (1:37)
A4 Mr. Block (2:36)
A5 The Rebel Girl (2:32)
B1 The Preacher And The Slave (Pie In The Sky) (2:55)
B2 There Is Power In The Union (2:46)
B3 Casey Jones (2:05)
B4 The Tramp (2:22)
B5 Jo Hill's Last Will (1:02)
[Credits]
Joe Glazer (guitar/vocals)
Designer: Ronald Clyne
[Notes]
Sung by labor educator Joe Glazer, this album features songs by union organizer Joe Hill. Although these songs are rooted in their time, their messages are still relevant today, and this collection is valuable to scholars and fans of labor music alike.

June 15, 2018

Hootenanny at Carnegie Hall

Folkways Records FN-2512

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1963
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk
[Tracklist]
A1 Come and Go with Me to That Land: Hally Wood (2:46)
A2 The Battle of Maxton Field: Pete Seeger (5:08)
A3 Rye Whiskey: Tony Kraber (2:18)
A4 Blood on the Saddle: Tony Kraber (1:20)
A5 Things About Coming My Way: Jerry Silverman (3:38)
A6 Mark Twain: Will Geer (4:13)
A7 If I Had My Way: Rev. Gary Davis (4:16)
A8 Old Man, Will Your Dog Catch a Rabbit?: Hally Wood (1:29)
A9 Done Laid Around: Pete Seeger (3:26)
B1 I Never Will Marry: Pete and Mike Seeger (4:41)
B2 Oh, Riley (Reilly's Gone): Pete Seeger (4:41)
B3 Kevin Barry: Pete Seeger (3:59)
B4 Wimoweh: Pete Seeger (2:23)
B5 Jacob's Ladder: Pete Seeger (5:16)
B6 Hold On - United Nations Make a Chain: Pete Seeger (2:41)
[Credits]
Producer: Sing Out Corporation, Designer: Ronald Clyne, Photographer: David Gahr
[Notes]
Recorded at three "hoots" in 1958 and 1959, this album represents a tradition that, at the time it was made, was nearly two decades old. Through the course of hootenanny history, certain constants remained: variety, social commentary, and above all, a great deal of audience participation. This album embodies all three.

June 8, 2018

Ray Reed Sings Traditional Frontier and Cowboy Songs

Folkways Records FD-5329

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1977
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk
[Tracklist]
A1 Sioux Indians (4:07)
A2 California Joe (14:47)
A3 Billy the Kid (2:32)
A4 Sod Shanty (3:19)
B1 O Bury Me Not (3:53)
B2 Zebra Dun (3:51)
B3 Punchin' the Dough (2:23)
B4 Powderhorn (3:52)
B5 Miss Aledo (2:39)
B6 Cattle Call (2:27)
[Credits]
Ray Reed (guitar/vocals)
Recorder: J. D. Robb, Cover Artwork: Will James, Designer: Ronald Clyne
[Notes]
On this 1977 Folkways release, New Mexico cowboy Ray Reed (1917–1998) sings songs about the old West; many of them he learned from his father, and he composed some as well. He had spent some years in California, and his polished style reflects the influence of the 1930s Los Angeles music scene, where he was friendly with some of the Texas Playboys―the group backing legendary Texas Swing singer Bob Wills. In 1990, concerned about the passing of traditional cowboy culture, Reed initiated an annual festival in New Mexico, the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium, that continues today. Liner notes provide background information on the music as well as song lyrics.

June 7, 2018

Roy Acuff: The Prodigal Son

Country Stars CTS-55490

Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 2004
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Countr
[Tracklist]
01 Great Speckle Bird (2:56)
02 Steel Guitar Blues (2:52)
03 Lonesome Old River Blues (2:50)
04 The Precious Jewel (2:45)
05 Just to Ease My Worried Mind (2:39)
06 It Won't Be Long (Till I'll Be Leaving) (3:01)
07 Night Train to Memphis (2:51)
08 Wreck on the Highway (2:47)
09 Fireball Mail (2:35)
10 Not a Word from Home (2:27)
11 The Prodigal Son (2:47)
12 I'll Forgive You, But I Can't Forget You (2:40)
13 Write Me, Sweetheart (2:31)
14 Jole Blon (3:12)
15 Wabash Cannon Ball (2:36)
16 Freight Train Blues (3:06)
17 Waltz of the Wind (2:37)
18 Unloved and Unclaimed (2:54)
19 This World Can't Stand Long (2:42)
20 The Tennessee Waltz (2:54)
21 A Sinner's Death (2:41)
22 Black Mountain Rag (2:54)
23 Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel No. 8) (2:50)
24 I Couldn't Believe It Was True (2:17)
25 The Southbound Train (2:36)
[Credits]
Roy Acuff (vocals)
Liner Notes: William Hogeland

June 6, 2018

Timeless: Hank Williams Tribute

Lost Highway 088 170 239-2

Format: CD, HDCD, Album
Country: US
Released: 2001
Genre: Rock, Blues, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Country, Rock & Roll
[Tracklist]
01 I Can't Get You off of My Mind: Bob Dylan (2:57)
02 Long Gone Lonesome Blues: Sheryl Crow (2:56)
03 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry: Keb' Mo' (4:01)
04 Your Cheatin' Heart: Beck (3:41)
05 Lost on the River: Mark Knopfler & His Band with Emmylou Harris (3:03)
06 You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave): Tom Petty (3:11)
07 You Win Again: Keith Richards (4:30)
08 Alone and Forsaken: Emmylou Harris with Mark Knopfler & His Band (3:32)
09 I'm a Long Gone Daddy: Hank Williams III (3:37)
10 Lovesick Blues: Cliff Friend / Irving Mills Ryan Adams (3:23)
11 Cold, Cold Heart: Lucinda Williams (5:08)
12 I Dreamed About Mama Last Night: Johnny Cash (3:13)
[Credits]
Producers: Bonnie Garner, Luke Lewis and Mary Martin, Art Directers: Jim Kemp and Luke Lewis, Designner: Craig Allen, Engneers: Hank Williams and Al Willis
[Notes]
Many tribute albums act as secret promotional tools for the individual labels to push some of their lesser-known artists on the coattails of their heavy hitters. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth on Lost Highway's all-star tribute to Hank Williams, Timeless. Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris, and Keith Richards are among the seasoned performers who offer their heartfelt interpretations of Williams' songs, as well as inspired choices from younger artists, including Beck, Ryan Adams, and the grandson of the man being celebrated, Hank Williams III. The songs themselves range from Sheryl Crow's faithful re-recording of "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" to Beck's stripped-down and quirky collaboration with producer Jon Brion on "Your Cheatin' Heart." While the more traditional country songs are entertaining and well-done, the real strong points are the looser, more raw contributions. Keith Richards' boozy rip through "You Win Again" is as intimate and stumbling as ole Hank on his last nights, and hard-livin' torchbearer Ryan Adams' living-room recording of "Lovesick Blues" resonates with the singer's own youthful weariness. The album ends with Lucinda Williams' (no relation) sparse and chilling "Cold, Cold Heart" and Johnny Cash's tender recitation of "I Dreamed About Mama Last Night." While many tribute collections seem disjointed and disappointing, Timeless pulls together some of the most interesting artists available, and their performances, while varied, all display a passionate devotion to the music of one of country's true legends. (AllMusic Review by Zac Johnson)