Dick Kimmel Music
Mandolinist Dick Kimmel’s latest release presents a gathering of predominantly instrumental tracks. Of its 18 tunes, Kimmel wrote nine. Five are traditional, running from the familiar “Mississippi Sawyer” and “Ragtime Annie”/“Texas Gals” to the lesser-known “Old French”/“Here And There Hornpipe” and “Sweet Ellen.” Three are covers.
Kimmel shifts often from old-time to bluegrass to Celtic, and from guitar and mandolin duets to twin mandolins with his son on “Really Reel,” and to the trio of Alan Munde, guitarist Adam Granger, and himself on his jaunty original “Sand Lake Rag,” and to full band configurations for the bluegrass-oriented tunes. Kimmel has beautiful mandolin tone and technique. His sound often has the stately, ringing tone of a hammered dulcimer. This is particularly true on his “Kakabeka Falls Waltz” and on the medley of “Old French”/“Here And There Hornpipe.” The “Old French” portion of the latter is particularly elegant. Those stand nicely beside the bright, clear renditions of “Sweet Ellen” and the title tune and also beside the propulsive and bouncy medley of “Smash The Window”/“Yarmouth Reel.”
Of the full band numbers, Kimmel’s original “Gray Grouse” stands out and makes good use of stops and hesitations and some slight modernistic touches. His “Caledonia Jake” also stands out, as does his upbeat “Wild Turkey Rag,” the most bluegrass tune on the CD.
Interspersed are three vocals covers. Of those, his slow, thoughtful rendition of “Love Of The Mountains,” performed in a duet with his son, has the best impact. Slowing the arrangement, as he has, brings out the song’s sense of longing. “Across The Great Divide,” given an interesting intro and interlude, is also good, adding to an overall fine recording. (Dick Kimmel, P.O. Box 101, New Ulm, MN 56073, www.dickkimmel.com.)BW