Good news for fans of Marteka and William Lake. They are still on the path! And by that, I mean the shining pathway forged, lo, these many years ago by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. For The Sounds Of A Tradition, the siblings have enlisted the help of like-minded traveler, fiddling Corrina Rose Logston Stephens. Just as Marteka devoured the banjo nuances of Earl Scruggs, and William absorbed the vocal stylings and thumb-pick guitar playing of Lester Flatt, Corrina studied the notes and bowing patterns of Paul Warren and Benny Martin. When these young players combine their considerable talents, the old favorites still sound exciting.
The appeal of The Sounds Of A Tradition is twofold. The uninitiated will enjoy the excellent, straight-ahead banjo and fiddle playing. You don’t have to know anything about Flatt & Scruggs to enjoy hearing these well-played versions of “Cripple Creek,” “Sally Ann,” “Reuben,” “John Henry,” and their own “Johnson Ridge Special.” Those who have committed the breaks from the original recordings to memory will find themselves wondering “Will Marteka play this lick?”—only to hear her play it exactly like Earl in the next instant. I particularly appreciated her rendition of “Sally Goodwin” with no accompaniment whatsoever except for the brief flash of Corrina’s fiddle. Sweet!
The four vocals, which include “Head Over Heels” and “Rambling Gambler,” are primarily solos by William, who is starting to come into his own as a singer. Charley Lake on bass and Bruce Jones on resonator guitar are on hand to round out the sound. Young musicians change and grow so fast, it’s hard for albums to keep up with them. For a glimpse at what Marteka and William look and sound like today, you need to check out their website. Here’s hoping they continue to keep their hand on the traditional bluegrass plow. Hold on, hold on! (Marteka & William Lake