A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Henry Koretzky
THE YOUNG FOGIES, Volume II, is a comprehensive anthology of what could be called "new old-time music." This collection features thirty different groups representing the revivalist wave in traditional American stringband music. The recordings were collected and produced by Ray Alden, who is himself an excellent resource in the new generation of old-time musicians.
The fiddle is at the forefront of this music. A wide variety of styles are presented here in an equally wide range of contexts. Fiddle/banjo duets abound, whether in Linda Higginbotham's strummed banjo-uke back-up of fiddler Brad Leftwich or the interweaving melodies used by Sauber/Herrmann/Powell. For effective contrasts, the Chicken Chokers use a harmonica/fiddle mix on "Grey Eagle," and the Ill-Mo Boys bring in a lively fiddle/mandolin combination on "Wolf Creek." Snow Hill showcases the twin fiddles of Palmer Loux and Sue Shumaker on some tight, swinging harmonies on "Black and White Rag." Even the bouncy rhythm guitar approach used by Beth Hartness on "Walking Up Georgia Row" can enhance the fiddle sound in an interesting way.
Nine of the tracks here feature vocals. They range from the male/female duets of Mac & Jenny Traynham ("Little Poplar Log House") and the Midnight Mockingbirds ("Native Home") to the ensemble birdcalls on the Volo Bogtrotters' rendition of "The Crow Song." The harmonies by Kate Brislin, Jody Stecher, and Alan Senauke on "Spanish Cavalier" evoke the pre-bluegrass roots of traditional country music.
Other excursions into offshoots of old-timey music include: the Cajun stylings of Reed/Huval/Truhan/Truhan on "Danse Carre" and the haunting waltz, "Wolves in the Woods," performed in an all-too-brief performance by the Double Eagle String Band.
Clearly newcomers to traditional American stringband music would find THE YOUNG FOGIES, Volume II to be a joyful introduction to the genre. Those already familiar with old-time music will be gratified to hear proof that these traditions are in good hands with a whole new generation of musicians.