Old Time Tiki Parlour CD/DVD 008

Old-time music is the bedrock for bluegrass and what we call Americana today. It’s folk music and wide ranging in its scope. These two fine musicians, twin brothers, recorded this before the tragic death of Trevor, who died shortly after these recording were made, preserving a sound that’s timeless as it is precious to those who know them. We are treated to the core instrumental music of western North Carolina. These are definitive recordings of many tunes from that region. Trevor and Travis grew up and were drawn in to the tradition, and became major exponents of said tradition, revered by those who know the music.

Trevor on fiddle and Travis on banjo play side by side as they had done countless times. The DVD captures them in this simple format allowing us to see them in action—two brothers communicating at several levels all at once. The CD is the same music and stands as an aurally rich experience of their music. They play versions of tunes they learned from the elders in the region. Byard Ray is represented by his unique “Polly Put The Kettle On.” Fiddlers such as Red Wilson had more a direct effect on the brothers and his versions of “Bailey Mountain,” “Grey Eagle,” and “Pretty Little Widow” crop up more often as do tunes from Bruce Greene, “Johnny Court The Widow” and “Christmas Eve.” The Smathers Family had an influence with their versions of “Durang’s Hornpipe,” “Nancy Rowland,” and “Sycamore Tea.” Bluegrass fiddlers who were based in the tradition show up as sources, too, including Paul Warren and Art Stamper.

While these tunes share common names and actually share a lot of notes with other versions, the subtle regional differences make these a fun listen for those “in the know” or just those who know they like the sound of great old-time fiddle and banjo duets. The accompanying booklet has some great photos of the brothers through the years, along with detailed notes about each tune. A touching part of this package are the heartfelt liner notes from Rayna Gellert who was deeply influenced by the brothers. They were also a big part of Rayna’s first CD Ways Of The World that took the old-time scene by storm.

This is the best recording of the brothers and, painfully, the last they will make together. The significance of this recording cannot be overstated. This is how it’s done and worth your attention. (

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