Tim and Danny Carter live outside of Nashville in a country house set in the midst of hickory trees. There are high-backed rockers on the front porch and a deck in the back that overlooks a picturesque view of hickories. They call this place Cedarhouse.
In addition to being their home, this is the home of Treehouse Studio, where they have recorded a number of albums for themselves and others. Cedarhouse is a collection of some favorite tunes they have played over the years, and a collection of original material.
Cedarhouse is a more acoustic collection of tunes than what you might have heard from the Carter Brothers if you had caught them at one of their many appearances. There are tunes here they found listening to the Neville Brothers (Yellow Moon), the Byrds (Chestnut Mare) and traditional standards like John Henry (where Tim is joined in a double banjo duet with Alison Brown) and Pretty Polly. Each tune has a little bit of the Carter Brothers in it. Also joining the Carters on this album are folks like Tim O'Brien, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Smith Curry, Gary West and their longtime musical cohort, bass player Ross Sermons.
The CD opens with Shelby Street a song Danny wrote of the street people near the Shelby Street Bridge in Nashville. Neither preachy nor whiny, the song simply tells a first person story of one of those folks. The song is riveting and) entertaining, backed by accordion player Phil Aaberg. Once I heard this song three times in a row (before proceeding to the next song), I had to learn it.
Pretty Polly is an interesting double banjo tune on this album. Tim Carter is joined on banjo by Tim O'Brien, who plays clawhammer banjo. And one of them has a wah-wah pedal going. I've heard a lot of Pretty Pollys, but this one stands out from all the rest.
It is evident the Carter Brothers are conscientious, thoughtful artists who seek to play music that they enjoy and appreciate. Not a drop of commercialism here. These guys are the real deal. While this is the first CD I've heard of theirs, it won't be the last.
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