Haints, an Appalachian corruption of 'haunts', are ghosts, and the term is appropriate to this threesome's menu of bygone fare but hardly descriptive of the full-blooded manner in which they address the extremely well preserved traditions so lovingly presented. Erynn Marshall (fiddle, vocals, banjo-ukelele), Pharis Romero (vocals, guitar) and Jason Romero (lead vocals, guitar, banjo-ukelele) are Canadians enamored of the southern Appalachian tradition (think Deliverance) and do everything in their power to keep it vibrant.
"Ahhh," you're thinking, "a bunch of cool old standards!", and that's exactly right. Almost every track here is indeed traditional, sounding as though culled straight from a McGuffey's primer slateboard community session tucked away in the county seat schoolhouse but rendered with a time-transcending vim re-sparking these chestnuts as though photographs torn from an 1880s dog-eared National Geographic. Shout Monah ain't no new slant wrought from moldering quilts and rusting plowshares, it's actually a museum curating a mode that most definitely shouldn't be allowed to die, let alone wither.
I suppose you could say The Haints (most properly: The Haints Old Time String Band) are living relics, as they are what they play, believe in the style fervently, ever seeking out kindred people, players, and materials. They by no stretch resemble, however, ancient layabout hillbillies who just happened to amble down to the recording studio while the revenooers were snoopin' around, looking for illicit stills. The band's renditions are as soaked simultaneously in elder authenticity and present effervescence as a Yellow Dog label CD, the kind of music that would've set Ma and Pa Kettle to grinning like a pair of wistful hound dogs far from home but hearing the call from the backwoods and washboards as clearly as if they were next door.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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