Simply put, Lauren Sheehan's Two Wings is great! A good dose of blues related material balanced by old time country tunes, this CD suggests the time when the old blues and early country music were much the same thing. Excellent guitar work, a solid voice and premier sidemen really make it all come together in a package that is not only a treat to hear but authentic in its presentation and honest in its delivery.
The lead and title cut is an old spiritual that works perfectly to set the tone for this recording. Not too flowery or over-worked, but tasteful and tasty, the guitar is subtle and her voice expresses a sincerity that is lacking from many remakes of the old gems.
Her treatment of two Willie McTell songs are not mere mechanical recitations or rehashes. She brings a new and personal feel to your ears and heart with her treatments of Lonesome Day Blues and gives the old chestnut Statesboro Blues a haunting and emotional realism that many covers of this tune lack. Its the same kind of powerful personalization that she brings to Robert Johnson's Kind Hearted Woman.
Her version of A.P. Carter's, Are You Tired Of Me is another example of her wonderful skill at claiming a tune for her own. Die-hard Carter Family fans will approve whole-heartedly of this version and those not familiar with the Carter Family music will be off in search of more after hearing this.
Are You Tired Of Me also serves as a perfect setup for one of the two original instrumental cuts she provides for us. Farewell Swallowtail and the banjo piece, Delta Queen stand every bit as equals with the other songs on this CD. The only bad thing about her originals is that she only include two. We definitely need to hear more original compositions from this artist!
The 14 cuts on this CD are all worthwhile. There isn't a speck of wasted time and there isn't a single bit of filler in the whole collection. Great selections, perfect sequence, excellent production work and stellar musicianship.
The superb musicianship is not confined to Ms. Sheehan. The backing musicians always add to the material without ever competing or overpowering and you never wonder why she included them. If there is a single exception it would be from her good fortune at having Phil Wiggins on harmonica. In the world of acoustic music you will not find a better harmonica player if you searched the whole world over. It is a testament to the skill of this powerful musician that he manages to not dominate the recording.
Now for the down side: hmm, there isn't one. Other than the already mentioned shortage of original tunes there is not flaw to be found. Buy this CD and keep Lauren Sheehan bringing us more great music!
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