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