One Camp Street
Cambridge, MW 02140
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Arthur Berman
I'm a fan of "new-old" music, music which can be identified within a tradition yet does not follow that tradition slavishly. The Freight Hoppers, a new addition to the Rounder Records roster, know how to perform old time music the "right" way and bring their own exuberant personalities to the songs they've chosen for Where'd You Come From, Where'd You Go.
If you need to be told the CD title is a quote from Cotton Eyed Joe this disc will be an excellent introduction to old time music for you. For those already hooked the Hoppers provide a fresh approach. Their music does not seem experimental, just deeply felt, the way the best country/old time music has always been played.
The Freight Hoppers, who are Frank Lee (banjo, vocals), David Bass (fiddle), Cary Fridley (guitar, vocals), and Hanne Jorgensen (bass) come mostly from places where old time music has never lost its core popularity: Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio,. Included in the mix is Jorgensen who is from Denmark and knows how to propel the group rhythmically with the bass.
They carefully credit their source material for each tune, but the group doesn't approach the music in a dry academic manner. This is dance music and I get the urge to roll up the rug whenever I deposit this disc into my CD player, which is quite often. One highlight in this regard is Texas Girls which The Freight Hoppers keep moving with energy that the best of old time music has.
The Hoppers use imagination in their selection of tunes. When they do choose to include a warhorse like Cotton Eyed Joe the selection is justified by some of the best falsetto singing I've heard since the Skillet Lickers.
Although instrumental breaks are less prominent in what is basically a rhythmic music, this CD is built around the fiddle of David Bass. He's up to the task. One of the best examples of his keeping the music lively and interesting is Mississippi Breakdown. Frank Lee on banjo is no slouch either.
In short, if you like old time music, or want a good and well recorded introduction, run to your local music emporium and get this disc.
Selections: Sandy River/Cotton Eyed Joe/Mississippi Breakdown/Little Sadie/Texas Girls/Johnson Boys/Logan County Blues/Gray Cant on a Tennessee Farm/Four Cent Cotton/Cornbread, Molasses & Sassafras Tea/Dark Hollow Blues/Elzik's Farewell/Pretty Little Girl/How Many Biscuits Can You Eat This Morning?/Kentucky Whiskey/Bright Morning Stars
Edited by Kerry Dexter