Another sweet review of Sud de la Louisiane

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