Doc is a commemorative album honoring the music of the recently deceased Arthel "Doc" Watson, a man I consider a national treasure of folk and Appalachian music.
Who better to play tribute to Doc Watson than Jens and Uwe Kruger along with their long time bassist/singer Joel Landsberg. In a sense, the Kruger Brothers are a national treasure on loan from Switzerland where they were born. The brothers were greatly influenced by American bluegrass and country music, became expert in playing and singing this music, then moved to North Carolina to associate with the musicians they admired and play bluegrass/country/folk music on stage.
Jens is a master of the five string banjo and is able to play any style and any type of music from straight Scrugg's bluegrass to bow tie classical music. Uwe has a wonderful baritone voice and is the lead singer on all of the Kruger Brothers productions. He also is capable of amazing guitar work. Their bassist, Joel keeps the group together musically and lends a very nice accompanying voice. On this CD, Josh Day provides just the right amount of percussion when needed.
Most folks are familiar with Doc Watson's mellow voice and blazing guitar tunes. Doc has influenced many guitar pickers over the years including the Krugers. In 2012, Doc passed away leaving a large legacy of albums which he recorded with his late son and others. I was fortunate to be able to attend a couple of Doc's live concerts. He filled the hall with his music, humor and modesty of his tremendous music talents.
It seems appropriate that the Kruger Brothers issue a CD album of Doc Watson's music because they have the vocal and instrumental qualities that closely reflect Doc's own talents. According to the liner notes, the Krugers often played sessions with Doc. They were close friends with him and played parlor music at his home. They chose fourteen musical pieces that well represent Doc's work. One—Shady Grove is a live recording with Doc and the Kruger Brothers sharing the stage at Merle Fest, a North Carolina musical event.
Here is the play list:
It is hard to pick favorites from these performances, since they are all superb. Uwe's voice really captures the Doc Watson feel on these tunes. Even though he was Swiss born, Uwe's voice has a Southern accent. Trouble in Mind in a great example of Uwe's vocals. Jens' banjo and Uwe's flatpicking carry Little Sadie and Streamline Cannonball through the roof. The Kruger Brothers truly make you feel like Doc was there with them (and on Shady Grove he is).
You can find more of the Kruger Brothers albums at their website. They also are on YouTube. I have not run across a single song or tune that disappointed me either on Doc or any other Kruger Brothers album I have collected. Doc would make an exceptional addition to your musical collection or a nice gift to someone who is a Doc Watson fan.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles