This talented Arkansas duo masterfully inhabits an antediluvian musical “folk, bluegrass, Americana” realm similar to that of, say, Norman Blake. This fine 10-song collection magically revisits American styles that were popular in the 18th and early 20th centuries.
Brad Apple’s and Pam Setser’s self-titled album (produced by Apple) opens with a smooth-as-silk rendition of “Hand Me Down My Walking Cane,” a traditional gospel celebration with some rather earthbound lyrics.
“Grandma Danced With The Arkansas Traveler,” a delightful Apple composition featuring an exquisite lead vocal by Setser, brims with similarly old-timey authenticity.
Apple (who plays guitar, mandolin and bass on various tracks) and Setser (mountain dulcimer) also take a slightly more modern pop love lament, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” (penned by Paul Anka and popularized by rock pioneer Buddy Holly and more recently by Linda Ronstadt) and rusticate it with twangy vocals and an intriguing acoustic arrangement.
Additionally, they serve up a moving reprise of Jim and Jesse McReynolds’ “I’ll Love Nobody But You,” along with a pair of public domain oldies: “When The Wagon Was New” and “Rake And The Ramblin’ Blade.”
The duo’s original songs—such as Setser’s instrumental “Hayes Hoedown” and “Too Far Gone” and Apple’s “A Friend You Never Met”—stand strong alongside these tried and true oldies.
The album closes with Apple’s exquisite solo guitar instrumental interpretation of the old standby “When You And I Were Young, Maggie.”