Old Tin is the second joint recording from the musical and marital couple of Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones. Those familiar with their music, individually and collectively, will not be surprised at what’s to be found here. Like the subject/object of the title-song, it contains a plentiful assortment of tiny joys, in this case songs and tunes both old and new that evoke dusty memories and fresh discoveries, often at the same time.
Among the 16 tracks, there are eight original instrumentals, most written by Marshall, but all of which synthesize the twists and turns of the Southern fiddle tradition in which the couple has immersed themselves. These are augmented by renditions of a handful of obscure traditional tunes and even a pair of not-so-obscure ones (“Colored Aristocracy” and “Bill Cheatham”).
Jones takes the lead on the CD’s vocals, which manage to convey the rough and raw early days of bluegrass within a duo or trio setting (with bass by Joe DeJarnette) on the Tobacco Tags’ “Reno Blues,” the Tennessee Ramblers’ “Southern Special,” and even Hank Williams’ “Cause My Sweet Love Ain’t Around.” Yet, he evokes tenderness on both the title-track and on his quirky and lovely musical adaptation of the poem “Prayer Of The Donkey” by Carmen Bernos De Gasztold.
This is a musical collection that should not be sharing the neglected fate of most old tins, but rather ought to be explored with the same freshness and joy that Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones bring to their music. (www.dittyville.com)HK