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Made up of no less than 16 songs, most of which are performed by Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth with additional entries from John Prine (“Some Humans Ain’t Human”)and Jerry Garcia & David Grisman (Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train”) the material is a delicious selection of traditional songs complemented by one each from A.P Carter, Stephen Foster, Blaze Foley and Wallace Willis plus, a handful from Purdy and Rubarth (combined).
Simple and sympathetic to the origin too the material they serve up music of another time, the 1960s and prior. One of the oldest, and most impressive is actually from Purdy (“Someone Singing For Me”); the dust-bowl era sounding track shuffles in an ever graceful, and pure fashion. Their voices blend as good if not better than at any time on the record. Excellent use of non-intrusive piano ensures the song flies like it were on angel’s wings. While Purdy tends to provide the bulk of lead vocals, Rubarth plays a splendid lead role on “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and with it followed in quick succession by Garcia and Grisman’s beautiful version of “Freight Train”, plus her own “New York” and the Carter Family’s “Hello Stranger”. In the two coming in succession there'a a purple is to be sample and savoured for those who enjoy understated, good uncomplicated beautiful melodies). Rubarth kicks up her heels on the song as a little mandolin and rhythm guitar plus Purdy’s calling out escort the perennial home.
Following the above, the duo ease through Foley’s “Moonlight”, a sombre version of “Shenandoah” and a caring version of Purdy’s “This Old Guitar” before the set closes with Rubarth’s song “Townes” (a beautiful tribute to the gone but never to be forgotten, genial singer-songwriter). Others of note include Purdy’s gentle easing through of “Red River Valley”, a shared, and jaunty version of “Black Jack Davey”, and there's Purdy’s delicious Dobro solo instrumental take of “Pretty Saro”. Such the beauty of his version I could dwell on it more; more would have been graciously accepted since it is desperately short.
Footnote by sure to checkout the solo albums, and otherwise as is the case with Rubarth and Purdy. While most soundtracks hardly earn the right to be played on the rarest occasion American Folk is something to check out at any opportunity as those of least initial interest creep into one's senses (and in some cases get to shine like a jewel).
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