The promo lit to this release from the folk duo claims that Bring on the Light "strays far from the traditional", but I beg to differ. The CD just drips with authenticity even if it's a new-ish musical flight on old wings. That, after all, is what attracted my ears to the disc in the first place, that unshakably firm basing in elder American roots, especially of the Appalachian area. I've mentioned elsewhere that the release of The Bristol Sessions—1927 recordings of Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, and a double handful of others—was, as no less a gent than Johnny Cash averred, an epochal event, and Lac La Belle more than once brings back rock solid reminiscences of that esteemed Bristol, Tennessee, affair.
Jennie Knaggs and Nick Schillace play a variety of instruments but do so strictly as a duo, and the recording has an extremely verite ambiance, making the period sound all the more entrancing. No fancy pitch synchronization board work, no aphexing, no synths, none of that, just voices and instruments and a hell of a lot of heart in a studio so that the full flavor of the wherewithal of days long gone comes speeding back in a rush of recognition of things lost…and now recovered. Schillace's slide work is particularly haunting as Knagg serves up gusty refrains in a banshee wail in Novocaine.
I'm also reminded of old Doc Watson and Suni McGrath records. You can practically hear the bare walls resonating on each cut as Knaggs and Schillace swing into action, heating up the room with vivacity or chilling it back down in backwoods lament. Yep, to echo the clever coining of 'future-rustic' laid on the Light release, there is indeed a modernistic ring to the affair, but the depth of resonance with the past is blood deep and highly impressive, and I'll be shocked if I don't see the pair doing film soundtracks for rustic auteurs in the near future.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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