Straight from the very first cut, this CD nestles right into the ear, making a warm and familiar home. First of all, Carolina Memories is on the Pinecastle label, guarantor of quality and fidelity in genre staples delivered par excellence, and, secondly, the quintet is well steeped in tradition, attentive to detail, nuance, and spirit. The four-part vocals (lead, bass, baritone, and tenor) are letter perfect with the instrumentation sweet and melodic, perky and jumpin' on the giddy-up, wistful and melancholy when warm winds blow across the prairie bringing back bittersweet memories (Keep Me from Blowing Away).
Well I spent my whole lifetime
Brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it? Christian, Jew, Muslim, agnostic, or atheist, we all know that searing awakening at one time or another. When Linda Ronstadt covered the song on her Heart Like a Wheel LP, she took things up into the sky and clouds, as is her wont, and The Grascals honky-tonked the classic slowly in a barroom lament a la Hank Williams, but The Gentlemen take everything down to the soil, more Willie than Hank, folk-centered, mournful, and hopeful simultaneously.
I have an especial affection for Will Roses Bloom, as it's pure-dee bluegrass with undiminishable Appalachian accents and high-strung grasshopper mandolin. Producer Lorraine Jordan not only spotlessly produced the entire release but sits in on rhythm mando there and in many places, backing up Julian Rowland's lead role on the instrument, making the staple twice as sweet. And if you feel like playing the title cut athwart Marshal Tucker's Carolina Dreams LP, go right ahead and do so,'cause that's precisely what I did.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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