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Stories you'll want to hear

  • Jan 13, 2000
John Cohen is a member of the NEW LOST CITY RAMBLERS but on this cd he has gone "solo", with a little help from his friends of course... David Grisman (mandolin, autoharp, etc...), Sue Draheim (fiddle), and Jody Stecher (fiddle, guitar, etc...).

The NEW LOST CITY RAMBLERS have many great recordings, but if you're not already familiar with them I would suggest you start with this cd simply because this is the most crisply and perfectly recorded cd that any member of them has released. Although maybe someone could point to the other Acoustic Disc release, RETROGRASS, as a counter argument. I wouldn't argue with that actually, but I prefer the music on this cd more. The clear, ringing tone of the banjo on this cd is beautiful.

The mountain-banjo-style tracks are particularly great, such as CHILLY WINDS, CHINQUAPIN PIE, and TWIN SISTERS. Some of my favorites of the vocally-accompanied songs would be DANVILLE GIRL, WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?, and DARK HOLLER.

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John Cohen's genius lies in his persistent devotion to the rawest, densest, and most playful shades of old-time music. Forty years ago he helped found the seminal New Lost City Ramblers--a band that continues to perform today--and began his life's work of documenting and mastering string-band music, especially the banjo. In the process he has exposed a whole new generation to old-time country played as it is meant to be--with passion, wit, and skill. Accompanied by David Grisman, Jody Stecher, and Sue Draheim, Cohen offers his first solo album, a smattering of familiar tunes such as "Cannonball," "Which Side Are You On?" and "Danville Girl." His voice cackles and cracks, and if not an easy listen, the songs reveal a secret history of American music. Fans of the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and contemporary bluegrass will recognize melodies and lyrics across this album, and perhaps hear in Cohen's banjo and moan a deep connection to acoustic music of all kinds.--Roy Kasten
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Label: Acoustic Disc
Artist: John Cohen
Release Date: February 16, 1999

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