This quartet is strongly reminiscent of what would be an American Pentangle or Steeleye Span. A very heavy flow of old roots classicality invades their work and transforms it from folk to something more unique. A good deal of the credit goes to Justin Solonynka's sober, magisterial, guidance-system piano playing, but everyone here possesses a strong affinity for tradition underneath the jazzy / folky / intelligent World sensibilities. Add to that a determined stance on social issues and progressive attitudes, and you have a potent combination. A number of covers appear throughout Crazy Whirled, well appointed but no more so than the original cuts, which embrace familiar airs and a potpourri of styles in practiced ease and knowing osmosis.
It's surprising to find that there are no sessioneers, as the tracks are full and complete in and of themselves, well integrated, harmony vocals frequently flowing out to form a floating air coloring everything into fulsome shades and timbres. In fact, Joanne Hammil's finds A Question of Tempo in a marvelous a capella recitation using rondo, swing, crazy rhythms, and bubbling exuberance to speak to the American tradition of stress-dominated modern life. Then the intro to the Beatle's In My LIfe is a slowed down Swingle Singers take on melodics within the famous tune. The band also has an affinity for the amazing Mary Fahl (October Project) and takes on the cut she wrote with master fiddler Mark O'Conner, Going Home, dipping very strongly into Pentangle territory for their coverage. And that's probably the strongest recommendation I can give this band: if you're a devotee of those remarkable English classical folk era musicians—and of groups like The Incredible String Band and others—then this is going to a very welcome addition to your collection…from our traditions.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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