This band has an established sound that rides the cusp of old time and bluegrass and manages to glean the best of both in the process. Caleb Klauder and Sammy Lind have kept it consistent. With the addition of Nadine Landry on bass and Reeb Willms on guitar, they have expanded the sound by adding a depth with their excellent musicianship and superb singing. The fiddle tunes rock out the way they always have with this band with fine readings of “Lost Gal” and “Chicken Reel” from Clyde Davenport, along with “Stillhouse,” “Old Molly Hare,” and “Paddy on the Turnpike.” Of course the whole band sings with gusto. The best, though, is the duet by Landry and Willms where they do a magnificent reading of “Mining Camp Blues” that catches the spirit and feel of wonderful duets done by the late Hazel Dickens and the reigning queen of old time singing, Alice Gerrard, a half-century ago. This top-notch program of ballads, songs, and tunes is varied and rich, a bit raucous and rowdy, while still touching a wide range of emotions. This one is a keeper. – Bob Buckingham, Fiddler Magazine
This American foursome cocks some mighty keen ears in the direction of American old-time music, and this latest collection sees them in the finest of form, with their songbooks, harmonies and fiddle lines criss-crossing state lines with capricious abandon. Intriguingly, all are northwest coasters, (now resident in Oregon and the Yukon), and draw their influences as much from Acadian and Canadian bluegrass sources as they do from the deeper south. Caleb Klauder’s old-time fiddle lines are crisp as a starched shirt, and Sammy Lind’s banjo leverages the rhythmic potential of their set list with a subtlety that binds the instruments beautifully. Vocalists, Reeb Willms and Nadine Landry (also on guitar and upright bass) bring a naked freshness to What Will We Do, a song borrowed from Dervish’s Cathy Jordan, and much more besides. Wide-angle, blue sky, foot-stomping music, bereft of artifice. – Siobhan Long, Irish Times
Quite frankly, it’s amazing that a band as good as the Foghorn String Band still seem to be an under the radar outfit despite pounding the boards for over a decade and this being their seventh album. They are, of course, a string band, and up there with the best you will ever hear. Consisting of two couples, they deliver beautiful harmonies and playing that ranges from the (very) fast and furious to the more subtle and delicate. The material is largely a mix of the familiar and traditional-ish (“John Hardy”, “Pretty Polly”) but there are some less well-known pieces like Garry Harrison’s “Jailbreak”. The influences of British folk music is clear to see, with an acknowledgement to the Silly Sisters and Cathy Jordan (Dervish) for “What Will We Do?” and a take on “Henry Lee” aka Child Ballad 47 “Young Hunting”. All are played and sung superbly and the album can probably be best summed up by saying that it drives the listener to CD baby to stock up on back catalogue while having simultaneously having “Devil…” on repeat. – Jeremy Searle, AmericanaUK
Today, interest in bluegrass and folk music is stronger than ever. From the onset of American history, folk music has shown up at times when the people needed it most. The timeless appeal of folk music has led to the 21st century folk revival and acoustic revolution and it’s traditional string bands like The Foghorn Stringband who help fuel this crucial folk reawakening. While popular music comes and goes it is folk music stands the test of time. The Foghorn Stringband is an American old-time string band from Portland, Oregon. The band is made up of Caleb Klauder (mandolin, fiddle, vocals) Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind (fiddle, banjo, vocals) Reeb Willms (guitar, vocals) and Nadine Landry upright bass, vocals). Their latest album “Devil In The Seat” is brimming with exuberance. The album’s biggest selling point is it’s sense of simplicity and timelessness. There is certainly catharsis at work here. Although there is plenty of songs to be heard on this album, The Foghorn Stringband have a neat little way of keeping the listeners attention as most of the songs are short and sweet with many 2-3 minutes in length. A lot of tracks are purely instrumentation such as “Chicken Reel”, “Jailbreak”, “Lost Gal”, “Leland’s Waltz” and “Chadwell’s Station”. While “What Will We Do” scraps the instruments completely leaving the female vocalists to sing acappella. For songs like “Lost Gal” and “Leland’s Waltz” the fiddle takes front and center and really shines in the arrangement. The Leland’s Waltz features truly beautiful phrases on the fiddle. A song that will make you want to get up a waltz into the night. Perhaps one of the best songs off the album as it leaves the listener wanting more. It’s delivery is achingly tender, meditative and soft in tone. An absolute jewel. The album has a variety of slow tracks with a handful of foot stompers’. “Old Molly Hare”, “Columbus Stockade Blues” and “Paddy On The Turnpike” are songs that you can’t help but tap your foot along to. “Mining Camp Blues” is a surprisingly catchy song filled full of yodeling. You can’t help but feel the loneliness and longing that flows through “Longing For A Home”. Its impossible to escape the feeling of a dark tormented soul in the murder ballad “Pretty Polly” while in contrast, “90 Miles An Hour” adds a bit of light humor and playfulness to the album. Their music is distinctly Southern and Appalachian sounding and their lack of experimentation is something you either love or hate. The Foghorn Stringband take the listener back to a time of simple, well structured traditional music. Similar to other widely-known bluegrass bands that have arisen in the folk music world, “Yonder Mountain String Band”, “Old Crow Medicine Show” and “Leftover Salmon”. “Devil In The Seat” is an album for celebration, dance and enjoyment. As an audience we desperately need strings bands like The Foghorn Stringband to help keep the music industry in tune with the bluegrass sound. “Devil In The Seat” captures the bands virtuosity and musical arranging abilities. – Emily Belton, Pure M Magazine
The effervescent energy that pours through ‘Devil In The Seat’ from The Foghorn Stringband draws its energy from the deep roots of tradition yet remains unafraid to present the product of those roots through ever-spreading branches of influence and brilliance. This is old-time American string band music that comes through as fresh as tomorrow’s sunrise and with equal sparkle. The Foghorn Stringband take inspiration from yesterday and hurls it reeling into tomorrow, and with a musical pedigree a mile long, delivers an album that offers all you would expect and more besides. The Foghorn Stringband are Caleb Klauder (mandolin, fiddle, vocals) Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind (fiddle, banjo, vocals) Reeb Willms (guitar, vocals) and Nadine Landry upright bass, vocals) and that combination serves up a vintage that it’s an utter pleasure to consume. From classic tunes such as the rattling insistence of ‘Stillhouse’, through the lonesome echo of ‘Mining Camp Blues’ and sorrowful melancholy of ‘Henry Lee’, to the ripping pace of ‘Old Molly Hare’ and ‘John Hardy’, this is essential listening for lovers of ‘straight-from-the-heart’ unadorned music. The essence of ‘Devil In The Seat’ proves the old ways still remain strong, solid and ready to stand up and be counted. The Foghorn Stringband prove they are rightly recognised as guardians of a tradition that remains constant as the North Star. Go out and get a copy of this album and treat yourself to a dose of heritage shouldered on oceans of integrity. – Tom Franks, Folk Words
Many are called, but few are chosen. On their new recording Devil in the Seat, Foghorn Stringband proves once again that they are still the Chosen Ones when it comes to down-home, foot-stomping, ass-kickin’ old time music. Portland, Oregon based Foghorn Stringband has traveled a long and winding road, with several personnel changes along the way, since the days when five guys knocked down mostly fiddle tunes and a few old songs. They were great then too, but since the addition of Nadine Landry (bass and vocals) and Reeb Willms (guitar and vocals) the band has blossomed into a full-blown force of nature that threatens world domination. The ladies brought in two lovely voices that ring out in close harmony, and their repertoire of obscure old time blues and country is a perfect fit. They also provide a rock-solid rhythm section for the boys to blaze away on fiddles and mandolin. This record was recorded in early December on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Man, these guys have a hard life! I’ve been writing about old time music for 7 years (I’ve reviewed many Foghorn releases here on Fiddlefreak) and no other existing string band kicks oldtime ass like The Horn. Foghorn Stringband’s new album combines the best qualities of ancient, lonesome oldtime music and the blindingly bright bounce of modern bluegrass. Go toward the light if you want to–but I’ll be cranking up the volume on Devil in the Seat. – Stuart Mason, FiddleFreak
Most bands practicing old time music these days fall into one of two categories: strict traditionalists, whose albums sound as if they could have been recorded at the Bristol Sessions, and those who take the stripped down sound of the old time style and add in more modern touches from other genres. With their latest release, Outshine the Sun, the Foghorn Stringband places themselves firmly in the first category. […] Outshine the Sun is just about as authentic as it gets in terms of old time music. However, while the group sticks to traditional arrangements, the music still sounds fresh. The band, consisting of Caleb Klauder (mandolin and fiddle), Stephen Lind (fiddle and banjo), Nadine Landry (bass), and Reeb Willms (guitar), is extremely talented, and has chosen songs just obscure enough to not have been over-recorded. While twenty-one songs is a bit long, the majority of the songs are very enjoyable and fans of old-time, string band music should certainly check out the Foghorn Stringband. –John Goad, Bluegrass Today
As persuasive as the vocals are, the Foghorn Stringband members excel at their instruments; hence, several instrumentals showcase their tight communication, impressive techniques and spirited attacks. Lind leads the way with an ebullient fiddle outpouring on the bright, bouncy album closer, “Mama Blues,” based on the arrangement associated with Missouri fiddling ace Lonnie Robertson; a contemporary of Robertson’s, and also located in the Missouri Valley region, fiddler Uncle Bob Walters is the source of the delightful, high stepping “Salty River Reel” workout, with its captivating sing-song melody and a most impressive rhythm guitar of seemingly inexhaustible energy bolstering Lind’s breakneck pace. Returning to Virginia, and to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the band tears into John Ashby & the Free State Ramblers’ “Western Union,” with fiddle and mandolin cutting a wide instrumental swath and darting around each other as the track sprints to its conclusion.
All in an album’s work for the Foghorns—exploring America’s blue highways and coming back with songs that have and will endure, some ever-present in our collective memory, some orphaned by time but always primed for adoption by loving practitioners such as these. Outshine the Sun? Could be an understatement. –David McGee, Deep Roots
Talk about a band that deserves more due. The Foghorn Stringband has quietly become one of the country’s longest-tenured underground stringbands, releasing now 7 albums, playing thousands of shows, touring coast to coast countless times and as far ranging as Scotland to Australia.
In 2012, it’s pretty remarkable when you take a step back and realize where the string band concept has gone. Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, Trampled by Turtles–these are highly-successful bands that are only slight variations on the traditional string band approach. Where Foghorn resides is in authentic interpretation. Hundreds upon hundreds of traditional string-based songs they can call upon. Where certain other string bands mix strains of punk or rock into their concept to cast themselves apart from the string band crowd, Foghorn finds variety not in mixing in contemporary art forms, but in finding new threads and variations to the same vintage-era music.
Whether it’s folk, bluegrass, country, or Cajun, Foghorn can play a breakdown, a Celtic jig, a Cajun waltz, and cut a rug to an early country tune in the span of as many songs and sell you quickly on the idea that you don’t need amplification or new school modes to make music that is both memorable and entertaining.
The other remarkable thing about Foghorn is that they’re like the silly putty of string bands. Strip them down to a duo, expanding it out to a trio or the the full four piece Stringband, rework it to be the backing band for mandolin player Caleb Klauder’s country project, or bring them in to comprise the rhythm section for the Louisiana-based Cajun Country Revival. Either way they work so well, and their willingness to follow whatever direction music presents for them is what has lent to the amazing music legacy they are forging in the minds of the people who have experienced Foghorn first hand.
Outshine the Sun is an excellent album, and where it makes its mark is in the positivity of its message. There are many bands these days digging up old standards from The Carter Family, The Stanley Brothers and the like, but that tend to seek out the darkness in roots music; songs about muder, and preferrably cocaine if you can find them, because they feel like those themes are what keep the music relevant.
Outshine the Sun works boldly in the opposite direction, presenting the cheerful side of the roots from its formative years, in the lyrical content, and in the modes of the music, with bright, frolicking and fun compositions and instrumentals that make this a fresh approach to the roots despite the vintage age of the material. I grimaced when I saw 21 tracks on this album. I mean did they expect to hold my attention for that long? But they did, and they do by the sheer talent of the Foghorn roster, and the sincerity of their approach.
The Foghorn core has always been Caleb Klauder on mandolin, and Sammy Lind on fiddle. You can make an honest case that Caleb Klauder is the greatest undiscovered country music talent in the world, held back simply by his own humility. Sammy Lind is such a natural musician, he plays fiddle as involuntarily as most of us breathe, holding it loosely under his chin until it slides down into the cradle of his arm Cajun style, and then pushing it back up onto his shoulder to take a blistering fiddle break. The Cajun/Arcadian cross-continent nexus that Foghorn embodies is completed by Quebec native Nadine Landry on bass. It’s common to hear French sung in Foghorn, inspired from either Louisiana or north of the border. And contributing the rhythm guitar and vocals is the newest Foghorn member Rebecca “Reeb” Willms.
Reeb Willms’ contributions are what puts Outshine the Sun over the top. Her technique on guitar is so flawless, you feel compelled to pinch her to to make sure she’s human. And her voice is so powerful, yet is delivered so dry, devoid of bravado embellishments or kitschy inflections that mire so many vocal performances these days. Her projection has that awesome characteristic of rising in volume as it climbs the register, and evokes ghosts of the more Stoic era that the music comes from in her tone.
The talent in Foghorn is excellent, but not exceptional. Taste is their exceptional attribute. They’re not trying to wow you with how fast they move their fingers, they’re just trying to represent music they hold in great reverence in an honest and entertaining manner. They are true revivalists who resist chasing trends or trying to do too much, and Outshine the Sun exemplifies that honest, straightforward approach.
Two guns up. –SavingCountryMusic.com
The Foghorn Stringband play old-time American string-band music – and they play it with all the passion, warmth, bite and fire of an illicit spirit. And I’m here to tell you that their latest album Outshine the Sun is as close as you’ll get to treading the boards of genuine, smooth-distilled, double-rectified American roots music. If Portland, Oregon had any idea what was escaping into the wider world it would have chained the band down and kept its treasure at home. Thankfully, the band cut loose and the result is here for folk across the USA and those of us on this side of the pond to enjoy. Their particular brand of old-time, hand-picked tunes and songs is a scintillating mélange of acoustic Americana that pulls country, honky-tonk and Louisiana Cajun into the blend. From the ripping, finger-flashing dexterity of tunes like ‘Humpback Mule’, ‘Salty River Reel’ and ‘Whoa Mule’ through the vocal helter-skelter of ‘Be kind To A Man While He’s Down’ and ‘Gospel Ship’ to the relaxed, familiar easiness of ‘Homestead On The Farm’, ’Jones’ Waltz’ and ‘Over the Garden Wall’ – you will surely want to sample the brew.The current line up for The Foghorn Stringband is Caleb Klauder (mandolin, fiddle, guitar, vocals) with his finely-honed vocals and ‘machine gun’ mandolin, master-fiddler Stephen Lind (fiddle, banjo, guitar, vocals) Nadine Landry from Québec (bass, guitar, vocals) and Rebecca Willms (guitar, vocals).Playing old-time in the old ways ‘Outshine the Sun’ was recorded with the band gathered around a single microphone (sat next to the woodstove in Caleb’s home). And no doubt about it Outshine the Sun sounds as wonderfully live as a bag full of wildcats, you would have to make a long trek to find anything more authentic.-Tom Franks, Folk Words
Outshine The Sun, the latest album from traditional country and Appalachian folk group Foghorn Stringband, shows the quartet exploring new textures and soundscapes of early bluegrass and songs of the Cajun south. Together Caleb Klauder (mandolin), Stephen “Sammy” Lind (fiddle), Reeb Willms (guitar) and Nadine Landry (bass) seamlessly incorporate these strands into their acoustic stringband arrangements resulting in an authentic, vintage sound. Fans old and new are sure to enjoy the latest from this venerable stringband. – JFelton, Record Department
Foghorn Stringband’s Outshine the Sun certainly isn’t the first album to be recorded in a Portland living room. But as followers of the Northwest’s roots music scene know well, Foghorn is no contemporary bedroom pop act or garage band. Rather, the quartet is among the finest practitioners of American old-time music on the globe, a string band whose faithful renditions of songs from bygone decades are no less than living, breathing history. That’s not to say they play museum pieces; Foghorn’s remarkable achievement is in making these careworn tunes sound vital, present, and fully relevant. In a town that’s riddled with whimsical throwbacks to old-timey fetishes, Foghorn Stringband remain absolutely authentic and without discernible gimmick. –Ned Lannamann, The Portland Mercury
This week Fiddlefreak ponders the eternal question: can a music blogger have a favorite band? Or should he? As it happens, I lucked into an advance copy of Outshine the Sun from Foghorn Stringband last weekend at the annual CBA Father’s Day Festival in Grass Valley, California. The miles flew by as we burned up the road, heading southward toward home, past Sacramento, Stockton, Lodi, and Salinas, with the volume cranked up. Outshine was recorded at home, and it sounds like it. That’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Back in the day, oldtime music was always played next to the woodstove, or on the front porch. It’s just that Foghorn always plays it so freaking WELL. Over the years, Foghorn has evolved into a tight quartet consisting of Caleb Klauder on mandolin, Sammy Lind on fiddle, Nadine Landry on bass, and their newest member Reeb Willms on guitar. (That’s a nickname for Rebecca, and happens to be ‘beer’ spelled backwards.) Other than their lineup, Foghorn hasn’t changed much. They’re still kicking major ass with their repertoire of obscure old-timey fiddle tunes, Cajun dance pieces, and early bluegrass numbers. They’re still the gold standard. Oldtime acoustic Americana music is exploding these days, and Foghorn is leading the charge without even trying to put their mark on it. You hear Foghorn, and you know it’s Foghorn. Face it, people. There’s Foghorn–and there’s everyone else. Enjoy! – Stuart Mason, Fiddlefreak, June 18, 2012
[Sud de la Louisiane] is a very exciting record, well balanced in every respect, replete with fabulously classy (and admirably unshowy) yet totally highly energised playing that smacks of long hours satisfying a dance-floor crowd, along with some beauteously edgy vocal harmonies; and what’s more, it proves without a doubt that old-time music still has plenty of mileage and relevance in this cynical day and age. Is this record joyfully feelgood? – hey, you bet! –David Kidman, Folk and Roots, Dec 2011 – READ ENTIRE REVIEW HERE!
The foghorn album’s great album “Sud de la Louisiane” challenges all the rules, dancing across boundaries that others were too afraid to even acknowledge. Every track is a bold bluegrass move. But for these guys bold was never going to be a problem. One of the best albums of the year. – John Shelton Ivany’s Top 21, Oct. 9, 2011
There might not be more aptly named pickers at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass this year than the Foghorn Stringband. At Monday night’s showcase performance, the quartet’s fiddle tunes on steroids cut through the haze of the Nashville Convention Center ballroom and cleared the heads of listeners for the nontraditional acts to follow. – David Morris, Bluegrass Today, Sep 27, 2011
Then, all the way in from Oregon was the Foghorn String Band who had trouble getting off of the [IBMA] stage because of the crowd demanding “just one more.” – Nashville.com, Sep 29 ,2011
For a slice of bona-fide old-time Americana — or, as they describe themselves, the kind of “ass-kickin redneck stringband music” you’d expect to hear on some front porch in Appalachia in the 1930s — there is no better contemporary band than The Foghorn [Stringband] … which has been together for ten years. Based in Portland, Oregon, with four albums to their credit, [The Foghorn Stringband] has long been one of the brightest stars on the thriving Old Time Music Revival scene in the Northwest. – Jackie Morris, Folkworks, Sep 2011
From the opener I Want to be Loved (But Only By You) The Foghorn Trio take us on a magnificent alt country Cajun odyssey laced with moonshine, as they go on the run in what sounds like a soundtrack for a Coen Brothers film. This album is fantastic from start to finish. When you think of harmony you think of the Beach Boys, the Beatles, The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel. It’s time to add in Stephen Sammy Lynd; fiddle, guitar, banjo and vocals. Caleb Klauder; mandolin, guitar, fiddle and vocals. Nadine Landry; guitar, bass and vocals. The Foghorn Trio do all the above but have an incredible natural and primitive feel to the way they sing together. Most of the songs are covers and those which stand out are the Carter Family’s tear jerking Hello Central and a wonderfully rueful version of the Kitty Wells song I Don’t Claim to be an Angel. If those of you out there want to know what bands like Mumford and Sons and their ilk could only ever dream of coming close to, then this is the album to buy. Of course The Foghorn Trio will never have a major breakthrough. They don’t have the required record company folk-cash-till-register-beard-angst-riddled X factor. The trustafarian who in reality listened to Cure records at boarding school, then faked it by throwing the razors away, learning some mandolin and banjo and jumped on the nearest folk sounding bandwagon marked irony. The Foghorn Trio are talented beyond belief and are the real deal. Best of all not a beard in sight. Charlie Brown, The Music Critic, June 23, 2011 (Rated 5 of 5)
When you hear THE FOGHORN TRIO, you know you are listening to real bluegrass music. The trio feature Stephen “Sammy” Lind and Caleb Klauder , who were founding members of the original Foghorn String Band, who have teamed up with Quebec’s Nadine Landry, who certainly leaves her mark on the title track of their new album, “Sud de la Louisiane”. With a lovely mix of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass and guitar, and some superb vocal harmonies, the trio take us on a music journey back to the music of Doc Watson, The Carter Family, and even Kitty Wells. They have made no attempt to modernise any of the songs. This is a truly authentic old time album- a delight to listen to. Stewart Fenwick, Country Music & Dance In Scotland magazine, June 2011
Age-old music of a different hue comes from Portland-based The Foghorn Trio’s self-released Sud de la Louisiane (foghornstringband.com, 3/5 stars). An offshoot of The Foghorn Stringband, their dedication to old-timey music is so great you can almost hear an old valve radio warming up every time they set their banjo, fiddle and guitar to pumping out cajun, bluegrass, and honky tonk country to swing on your front porch by. Pass the root beer, Martha. Andy Fyfe, Q Magazine, June 2011
“What happens if you play country music in reverse?” asks Stetson-toting mandolin and fiddle maestro Caleb Klauder. “Well, your wife comes back to you, your dog comes back to life and you get your truck back.” “Yeah, and the tears flow up from your beer!” finishes a clued-in audience member. That little cameo pretty much sums up this Country/Folk music cliché-busting night. W&H are attending the highly respected Baltimore Fiddle Fair for the first time and finding it to be friendly, inclusive, efficiently run and enormous fun all round. We’re in the festival’s cavernous marquee and it’s the ideal place to see off both the storm raging outside and the economic depression dogging Ireland in 2011. Now in its’ 19th year and counting the Fiddle Fair is the kind of event that respects talent and encourages long-term friendships to grow. Originally in their guise as The Foghorn String Band, THE FOGHORN TRIO has been coming here for a number of years and on this showing it’s not hard to hear why. They are ideal festival fare with their remarkably authentic old-time sound capable of drawing in the old and young alike. In fact, merely their energy and enthusiasm is enough to melt the coldest of hearts. While they may be based in the urban environs of Portland, Oregon, The Foghorn Trio are clearly steeped in the old time traditions of rural American Roots music. With its’ bluegrass, country-folk and Cajun leanings, their recent album ‘Sud de la Louisiane’ is vintage stuff, displaying a love of a simpler world where the Rock’n’Roll clichés we usually condone are entirely irrelevant. Hunched together in a semi-circle around an old-style communal valve microphone, The Foghorn Trio perform with a refreshing lack of ‘celebrity’ excess. Camaraderie is the watchword and the sum always seems to exceed the parts, even though there’s never any doubting the individual skill and dexterity Caleb Klauder (mandolin, violin, vocals), Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind (violin, banjo, guitar, vocals) and Nadine Landry (guitar, double bass, vocals) bring to the table. There’s one heck of a stylistic melting pot being stirred here. Nadine’s French-Canadian background brings a Cajun feel to tunes like ‘Sud de la Louisiane’, while phenomenal picking and fiddling drives tunes like Kyle Creed’s ‘Liza Jane’ and Noah Beavers’ ‘None of Your Business’ to ever greater heights. It’s by no means all breathless hoe-downs however. There’s also plenty of room for the waltz-time loveliness of Caleb’s self-penned ‘Just a Little’, the god-fearing likes of the Louvin Brothers’ epic ‘Satan’s Jewelled Crown’ and the eerie, mandolin-led ‘Caleb’s Lament’ which – to these ears – has just the briefest twist of ‘St. James Infirmary’ in its’ elegiac melody. Nadine suggests the gentle love song ‘The Right Combination’ is one of “only two non-fatalistic” songs featured in the set, yet while death’s shadow may not seem to hang over the Trio’s material with the kind of pall it does with The Handsome Family, they do wrap up the main set with a curiously sprightly tune called (ahem) ‘The Jaybird Died of Whooping Cough.’ It’s a feisty finish with the trio briefly swelling into The Foghorn Quartet courtesy of a cameo from one of the festival’s other rising stars, Stephanie Coleman. It’s not really the end, of course, for the heartfelt encore ‘Be Nobody’s Darling but Mine’ finds Nadine abandoning her bass altogether for a spin around the floor with the head of the festival organisers’ family, Mr. Brendan McCarthy. It’s the perfect way to bring their Country-Folk master class to a conclusion and in summation I can only say that if I also make it to 72, I hope I am still as fleet of foot as Mr. McCarthy senior. Our rating: 9 stars. Tim Peacock, Whisperin and Hollerin May 2011
The Foghorn Trio have been cited as a significant player on the US folk and old-time music circuit. The album finds them playing a variety of old time-Americana material with respect, energy and a vibrancy that flies in the face of those who may choose to question the relevance of this particular brand of music in the modern era. The album’s opener is a frantic, high-energy romp through the Bill and Mary Reid number “I Want To Be Loved (But Only By You)” and very much sets the tone for what’s to follow. The instrumental track “Gentleman from Virginia” showcases fiddle-playing dexterity that frequently crops up later, while the standout song – an excellent cover of Kitty Wells’ “I Don’t Claim to be an Angel,’ features magnificent, heart-felt harmonies. Essentially, this is what it is: old-time music played very well. Cate Mitchell, Backroads, May 3 2011
Old time – fast, sharp, harsh and exciting as it should be. That’s the trio’s approach throughout – classy playing serving the songs without the flash and chrome they’re clearly capable of delivering.The several tunes – such as “Gentleman from Virginia” and “Nuts and Bolts” – reveal the trio’s roots as dance music players (as members of the Foghorn Stringband). Joyful toe-tapping, square dancing, heel stomping music. If you have any interest in old-timey / american folk / roots of country, or whatever you want to call it, then this album will deliver for you. …you’d be mad to miss them if they’re on in your neck of the woods. Jonathan Aird, April 28, 2011, Independent (8/10)
After reviewing Caleb Klauder’s Western Country for this issue I discovered The Foghorn Trio where Caleb plays mandolin, fiddle and guitar, joining Sammy Lind (fiddle, guitar, banjo) and Nadine Landry (guitar, bass) for a sprightly set of tunes. Some are bluegrass, some country, some old-timey, all terrific fun. Two Klauder originals nestle comfortably among songs by Conway Twitty, Kitty Wells and Doc Watson among other less well known sources.Sud de la Louisiane from the very first note is a wonderful, warm album. Michael Tearson, SingOut! (Vol. 54 #2, Spring 2011)
Their website tells us that they play “ass kickin’ redneck stringband music” and that’s a pretty good description of the music this trio play. It’s accomplished, lively and lived-in. A mix of original and songs from The Carter Family, Kitty Wells and Doc Watson amongst others all sung with a passion that takes it beyond the notion of mere pastiche. It draws from a deep well but comes out fresh due to the fact that the trio of Caleb Kaulder, Stephen Lind and Nadine Landry have an obvious love for and skill in playing this essential raw and stripped down music. Lonesome Highway (April 17, 2011)
Based around founding members of The Foghorn Stringband, Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind and Caleb Klauder plus Quebec-born Nadine Landry, the sound they make on ‘Sud de la Louisiane’ taps into a world of Kentucky bluegrass, Louisiana Cajun and Appalachian folk. It’s an ancient world where Elvis Presley (never mind Lady Gaga) is merely a glint in the eye of the future and terms like ‘credit crunch’ are wholly alien to the lexicon. Tim Peacock, Whisperin’ and Hollerin’ (April 2011)
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. Paul Kerr, Blabber ‘N’ Smoke (April 4, 2011)
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. Bluesbunny Independent Music Reviews (April 2011)
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, Flyin’ Shoes (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. Devon Leger of Hearth Music, American Standard Time (February 24, 2011)
Much has been said about certain urban revivalists that resurrect and even profit from the music of a culture to which they are outsiders. Well that ain’t Foghorn. I know nothing about the heritage of the Trio, other than the fact that Sammy saws a fiddle tune that could beat the devil, Caleb totally owns every song he sings, and Nadine has some deep French-Canadian family links. And the truth is, I don’t give a flying flock where they come from. In my book, when you play your music well enough to help define the genre, you’re IN. That’s exactly what Foghorn Trio does for traditional American folk music. Sud de la Louisiane will float you down a big muddy river to a red-hot front-porch pickin party that goes on all night. Stuart Mason, Fiddle Freak (January 21, 2011)