Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer - Tanglewood Tree

Tanglewood Tree

Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer

SIG 1257

Signature Sounds
P.O. Box 106
Whately, MA 01903

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Michael Gasser

Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer call their music all original, post-modern, mythic American. But don't be scared, you won't need a dictionary to understand their music. Tanglewood Tree is their second collaboration and their first for the thriving Signature Sounds label, which seems to amass nothing but great talent on its roster. The new album has earned a lot of rave reviews, and was the most played album on folk radio for three ensuing months this year.

The two have chosen Portland, Oregon as their adopted hometown, but Dave Carter's Texan background still shines through. He writes the songs all by himself, but it is mainly due to Carter's joining forces with Tracy Grammer that a different kind of potential became possible for the duo. One plus one can sometimes be more than just two.

You can get lost all too easily listening to this album, where killer harmonies meet up with masterfully played instruments. Listen to Tracy Grammer's gutsy vocals on Crocodile Man and enjoy. In that song Grammer shows more steam and eroticism than all the world's assembled material girls. Her fiddle playing is equally impressive and is of such sheer and astonishing beauty that whenever it can be heard, the already magical album torpedos itself onto an even higher level.

The music of Carter and Grammer is sure to bring down any house. You can call it country, you can call it folk - it's not that important. What is relevant is that their sound belongs to the top of the crop in any of these genres. Sometimes the duo is a tiny bit reminiscent of Gillian Welch and her partner David Rawlings, although far less somber. In comparison, Carter and Grammer seem to write more upbeat lyrics, which are sometimes tongue in cheek. Carter's lyrics possess a tremendously graceful flow, making his songs convincing creations with subtle meanings and wonderful wording - pure poetry. His is a talent among talents.

Asking for more than this album offers would come close to a deadly sin. From the CD's first second to the very last, there is not even one remotely boring moment. They start picking their instruments and the record reveals its wonders right away, non-stop.

No doubt, this year's laurels will go to Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer.

Track List:

  • Happytown (All Right With Me)
  • Tanglewood Tree
  • The Montain
  • Farewell To Saint Dolores
  • Hey Conductor
  • Crocodile Man
  • Walkin' Away From Caroline
  • Farewell To Fiddler's Rim
  • Cat-Eye Willie Claims His Lover
  • Cowboy Singer
  • Farewell To Bitterroot Valley
All songs written by Dave Carter

Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz

Copyright 2000, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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