Though she didn't appear on their Bohemian Maestro: Django Reinhardt & the Impressionists (here), Sylvia Herold has been a member of the Hot Club of San Francisco. Here, she's formed a quartet (Paul Kotapish—mandolin, Charlie Hancock—accordion, and Chuck Ervin—bass) covering familiar material from a vantage point of honed chops and loving recitation. It's obvious they've long cherished every cut presented.
The Old Jawbone also includes material from John Hartford, Gillian Welch, and others who constantly revivify the genre, fitting perfectly in with the antecedents that have so marked their careers. Herold's high clear voice is a central feature, and she exactly cuts the divide between folk and country/bluegrass, letting neither overpower the other. However, the musicianship, as one would expect of anyone able to travel the stratosphere with The Hot Club, and as The Old Man at the Mill amply demonstrates, lacks for nothing, pristine in both accompaniment and soloing.
I also detect traces of an older group now largely forgotten: Peter, Paul, and Mary, an ensemble that figured hugely in the lives of Boomers, but then cuts like Let the Bullgine Run resuscitate echoes of the Kingston Trio as well. Of course that would be the case because such golden groups were keeping even earlier years and sounds alive in their own time. Then up pops an instrumental like Le Mangave or Le Reve de Quarteux Tremblay / Byggnan, and we're whisked away to Gay Paree, Sicily, and even Vienna via Charlie Hancock's evocative accordion or Paul Kotapish's mandolin atop Chuck Ervin's bedrock bass and Herold's guitar, all and sundry sipping wine, chewing hardcrusted loaves of bread, and munching at cheese wheels. No matter where you go on this disc, you're going to run into olden airs, reels, and festival songs chronicling days of yore and the culture we're rapidly losing...too rapidly and too unmindfully. Therefore, let Euphonia serve as a sonic purveyor of National Geographic subject matters keeping us steeped in the times that made us what we are.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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