Tin Halo Music
Old Buck features Riley Baugus on banjo and guitar, Emily Schaad on fiddle, Debra Clifford on guitar and mandolin, and Sabra Guzman on bass. All four sing and play with both power and subtlety, and all four are very well-known names in old-time music and beyond.
This CD opens with “Chilly Winds,” centered on a rock-solid fiddle/banjo combination and Riley’s vocals. Next is the E.C. Ball song “Tribulations,” with Sabra singing lead and Debra and Emily adding lovely harmony. Emily won first place in fiddle at the 2012 Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, W.Va., and you would expect lots of great fiddling from her. You get it, along with great banjo, guitar, and bass on “Nancy Ann” (Frank George), “Highlander’s Farewell” (Emmett Lundy), “Free State Hornpipe” (John Ashby) “Rocky Road To Dublin,” “Black Jack Grove” (Walter McNew), “Mike In The Wilderness” (John Salyer), “John Sharp’s Tune,” “Icy Mountain” (Ward Jarvis), “Fisher’s Hornpipe,” and “Tippin’ Back The Corn” (Jordan Wankoff). Note that the sources are not given in the very sparse notes, so these are the reviewer’s best guesses, except for the last, which is a recently composed tune. In particular, the version here of “Fisher’s Hornpipe” is clearly related to the common tune of that name, but with an unusual setting. Riley sings lead on “False Hearted Lover’s Blues” with Debra on harmony. Sabra also sings lead on “Soldier’s Farewell” and “Willow Garden” with Debra singing harmony on both. Debra takes the lead on Hank Williams’ “You Win Again” with Sabra on harmony.
This is fiery and expressive old-time music with deep roots in the tradition. It will certainly appeal to lovers of old-time music, but its audience should reach considerably beyond to all those who love exquisitely performed music. (Tin Halo Music, P.O. Box 65, Greenfield, MA 01302, www.oldbuckmusic.com.)SAG