“Sud de la Louisiane” review from Devon Leger at Hearth Music

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.