Walk Along John is album of old timey and traditional acoustic music written for mandolin by a great mandolin player named John Reischman. As stated in some of the notes, it is expected that a band's mandolin player spend some of his/her time composing music. John has been in some great bluegrass/traditional music bands such as the Jay Birds and The Good Ole Fellas. What has been created here is a collection of great tunes many of which could become well-worn gems for mandolin players in the future.
The album was recorded in several locations with a variety of backup musicians filling in the sound. Not just average musicians, but stars in their own right like fiddler Bruce Molsky, guitarists Kenny Smith and Jim Nunally, mandolinist Chris Thile and many more. John has given them great tunes to work with and Mr. Reischman is no less of a star performer.
The album has 14 instrumental tunes mostly written by John but also a few traditional tunes to balance the set. I am calling them "old timey" / "traditional" but some might consider them bluegrass. There is a fair amount of banjo picking by Tony Trischka, Chris Coole, Partick Sauer and Nick Hornbuckle. But not all is blazing picking, there are some nice waltzes to change pace now and then.
The first tune Itzbin Reel sets the stage. It sounds a little like other toe tapping tunes that you might have heard but then it soars into higher octaves and with the twin mandolin of Chris Thile becomes more than you expected. Then there is a pure mandolin/fiddle duet with Bruce Molsky in Side by Each. Ice on the Dog Water and Walk Along John to Kansas are other fiddle/mandolin numbers by these two great performers. Walk Along John to Kansas is traditional and sounds like the fiddle is cross tuned to give more drone when played. Also John plays a mandola on this one which has a larger body to give a lower timbre.
To make the set more interesting there is a second version of Side by Each with a full band including two fiddles. Another super tune Reischman has provided is Little Pine Siskin which I listen to over and over. Fiddler Annie Staninec provides some great lead music on this tune in a round robin with John on mandolin, Kenny Smith on guitar and banjo player, Nick Hornbuckle, also taking leads.
Besides great acoustic music you can't beat some of the album's titles, for example: Itzbin Reel and Ice on the Dog Water.
Here is what's on the album (all by John Reischman except as noted):
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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