Cajun Country Revival takes Juneau Alaska by Storm. Starting mid day on Thursday April 14th an influx of Southern Cajun and NW Country musicians will be flooding the ports of SE Alaska. No one seems to know how many exactly are expected to arrive andwhat they intend to do but one thing is for sure, Juneau has definitely been through this before. This is predicted to be the largest and most exciting influx from the lower 48 in the last 100 days, quite possibly the last 365 days. It is said that the town will be inundated by late Thursday night and that most folks are preparing for the event by taking time off work, stocking up on beer and wine, and tuning their instruments. One civilian was quoted as saying “Alaskans are strong and we can handle just about anything the lower states throw our way, this is exciting”. Another was quoted as saying ” we are so *@#*ing lucky”. While most Alaskans are not fully aware of the impact this storm will have, reporters say there is an abnormally strong buzz in the air about the forthcoming events and there seems to be very little concern as to what (if any) the repercussions will be. In about 120 hours the Revival is said to begin dispersing and only then can Juneau expect to get things running back on a normal schedule.
Reporting live from Portland Oregon. Follow the events as they unfold in Juneau over the following weekend. (maybe)
Bluesbunny gave the new Foghorn Trio record three carrots out of five. Check it out:
Now this is a seriously polite and downright reverential album. The Foghorn Trio – a cut down version of the Foghorn String Band, it would seem – take fourteen songs, both self penned and a substantial number of traditional favourites and make with the kind of immaculately played fiddle driven old timey country music that will bring joy to the hearts of urban countryphiles everywhere.
The Foghorn Trio are made up of Caleb Klauder, Stephen Lind and Nadine (now there’s a country name…) Landry and they laconically two step their way through well kent songs like “I Don’t Claim To Be An Angel” and the splendidly heart tugging “Hello Central” with surefootedness and commendable musical skill. As I fought back the urge to wear dungarees and a check shirt, it came to me that this was the kind of music that I used to listen to on those Mamou Cajun Radio LPs way back in the days when music was round and black.
Whilst not breaking any new ground, the affection that the Foghorn Trio clearly hold for this type of music stops them from falling in the always waiting traps of pastiche and parody. Traditionalists should lap this album right up. —Bluesbunny, April 2011
Glasgow’s Paul Kerr, who covers Americana music on his site Blabber ‘N’ Smoke, loves the new Foghorn Trio record.
Been a while since we’ve had any old time string band music to mention so here’s one that’s coming out in May and is an absolute delight from start to finish. The Foghorn Trio comprise of two members of the Foghorn Stringband, an outfit from Portland, Oregon, Caleb Klauder (fiddle, mandolin and guitar) and Stephen Lind (fiddle, banjo and guitar) who have teamed up with Quebec born Nadine Landry who plays bass and guitar with all three sharing vocal duties. The title is a bit of a misnomer as there is little in the way of Louisiana here other than the title track, a Cajun song delivered by Landry. That said the album was recorded in Eunice, Louisiana by producer Joel Savoy whose rural studio is featured on the album cover.
The meat of the album is in god fearin’ honest homilies delivered in the style of the likes of the Carter Family along with strong instrumentals that feature the band’s dexterity. The majority of the songs are covers and they are astonishingly good at capturing the earnestness, innocence and to be fair the slightly hokum quality that is a quintessential ingredient in the pleasure one gets from listening to pre war country music. Two songs illustrate this perfectly. The Carter Family’s Hello Central is an aching plea to the Almighty from a youngster trying to contact his deceased mother, while Benton Flippen and The Smokey Valley Boys’ Go Home is a tremendous temperance plea. Listening to the versions here one could be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to a black and white world where television had not yet been invented and the sounds you hear guide your moral compass with your primary release being the weekend dance where you can let loose to the joyful fiddle and guitar of A Bottle of Wine and Gingercake.
Two originals by Caleb Klauder, the instrumental Puttin’ Up The Wood and Just A Little, a song very much in the tradition fit right in to the overall feel of the album. So pull out your bible, put away that demon drink and thank God you’re alive and able to enjoy such a fine recreation of past, more innocent times served with such virtuosity and love.
The Foghorn Trio play some dates in the UK in May.
—Paul Kerr, April 4, 2011
Check out this review from Flyin’ Shoes.
The Foghorn Trio might be “Sud de la Louisiane” for this recording, they might have a logo that echos the rebel flag and they might advertise themselves as purveyors of “ass-kickin’ redneck stringband music”, but for all that they hail from Portland, Oregon – not really a redneck state, I’d have thought. The Foghorn Trio are actually just one manifestation of an outfit known as The Foghorn Stringband which turns up as a three-, four- or five-piece band as opportunity and circumstances allow. Heaven only knows what sort of a sound they make as a five-piece, because this Trio is capable of raising a fair old storm of old-time dance music, playing with a fervour and a sense of purpose that characterises true dance bands.
In this manifestation of the band, we have Caleb Klauder on fiddle, mandolin and guitar; Stephen Lind on fiddle, banjo and guitar; and Nadine Landry on bass and guitar. They all take turns at the vocals supporting each other when the song calls for it. The songs and tunes are culled from all corners of the American traditional music scene and were recorded at Joel Savoy’s studio in southern Louisiana. The title track, a cajun tune from more than fifty years ago, is really the only song here that tips its hat to the region where they made this recording; the rest of the time, they’re looking further north for their inspiration with covers of songs by Kitty Wells, The Carter Family and Doc Watson appearing alongside some inspired choices of material from less well known artists. One particular highlight is a cover of Go Home by North Carolina’s fiddle maestro Benton Flippen. Nearly half the tracks are instrumentals, driving dance tunes all, and recorded with a verve that could hardly be bettered if the band were being fired up by a Saturday night dance hall crowd.
What is remarkable about this band is that I haven’t heard another contemporary act who come as close to recreating the sound of mountain music as it was first recorded back in the middle decades of the twentieth century; it’s as if these guys have even got the mindset of those pioneers, so close do they come in every respect. It’s there in the feverish vigour of the fiddle playing, it’s there in the pacing, it’s there in the tone of voice when they sing and, most of all, it’s there in those little cracks in the otherwise perfect sound, the cracks where the honesty of their intentions shines through. If old-timey fiddle music is your kind of thing, then you absolutely must give these guys a listen; you’ll be in square-dance heaven.
John Davy, March 28, 2011
Dear Foghorn Stringband,
What a long strange trip it’s been! From your origins in the punk, DIY world of Portland’s urban old-time community to a major label signing with Nettwerk, you’ve been the seminal stringband of the past decade and you’ve inspired countless young musicians (myself included) to pick up fiddles, banjos, guitars, and to hop trains over to Portland for all night picking parties and moonshine square dance raves. What amazes me is that throughout you’ve been the same band with the same mission: to play the hell out of your favorite country and old-time tunes and songs with no hint of irony. We all projected our own ideas and fantasies on to the band, but you guys were hard as granite. You just played and played, never caring for the music industry or the hipsters’ world of indie roots music. And that’s always been the key to your music.
So it’s with great pleasure that I can report that the new CD from The Foghorn Trio (Caleb Klauder, Sammy Lind, Nadine Landry) is just as wonderfully vibrant and alive as the past albums from the full band. The album keeps the core of the Stringband, the hard-driving mandolin picking and the dry, dusty voice of Caleb Klauder, and the blazing fiddling and rough-and-tumble singing of Sammy Lind, and adds French Acadian bassist/guitarist Nadine Landry. Nadine also adds her beautiful, sparse singing and her knowledge of French for a few Cajun songs.
Recorded at Joel Savoy’s studio in Louisiana, it’s no wonder the Cajun culture of Down South has rubbed off on the band, in fact, word on the street is that Sammy Lind’s picked up the Cajun accordion and joined a band with fiddler Josh Rabie of the Water Tower Bucket Boys. But that’s beside the point. The point is that these young traditionalists still have what it takes to spin Portland urbanites around crowded dance halls, to lift the feet of drinking souls in bars across the US and to spin up clouds of dust at outdoor festivals. Cajun accordionist Octa Clark once said “You can’t go wrong if you play it right”; and it’s clear that the Foghorn Trio have taken this mantra to heart.
Thank you Foghorn Stringband for all the years of inspiration. Now that you’ve got a new CD as The Foghorn Trio, we can focus on the high, holy harmonies and face-blasting fiddle tunes that have always been your trademark. We can focus on the fine old songs, and new songs from Caleb. We can focus on this beautiful music, while you all focus on kicking ass.