connell-&-skyeTIM CONNELL & ERIC SKYE

Half-Diminished Records
No Number

It’s hard to get a handle on exactly what’s at hand upon popping June Apple from Tim Connell and Eric Skye into the CD player. The first thing you notice is an extremely high-quality production that showcases some of the cleanest and richest guitar and mandolin playing around. A flip to the back cover reveals a series of songs familiar to lovers of bluegrass and traditional music, such as “Temperance Reel,” “Angeline The Baker,” “Cherokee Shuffle,” “I Am A Pilgrim,” and “Billy In The Lowground.” But, you almost assuredly have never heard the take of these two gentlemen on these classics.

Connell is known internationally for his mandolin playing, and is part of the supergroup, the Ger Mandolin Orchestra. He also tours with his own swing band (Stumptown Swing) and plays with the Americana group Old Yellers. Skye is known as a jazz guitarist who also picks Americana and blues for a unique, rich sound. His album A Different Kind Of Blue was named a Top Ten acoustic guitar album of 2012, and he has an acclaimed 2015 release, Artifact, with Mark Goldenberg.

So what the listener gets with June Apple is a collection of well-worn favorites done in such a way that the traditional melody lingers on the backside of the ear, while a fresh and driving take is delivered. “I Am A Pilgrim” and “Angeline The Baker” are worth the price of the entire CD—which leaves a sweet bonus, including two originals, “The Locktender’s Reel” and “Black Butte Waltz.” This album would be perfect not just for listening to on a long ride in the country, but also over the office sound system or through headphones. It won’t disappoint. (www.timconnellmusic.com)MB

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