Various Artists – Smithsonian Folkways, Traditional Music from Grayson and Carroll Counties, Virginia: Songs, Tunes with Fiddle, Banjo and Band

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Proof that folk music is the music of the folk.

Final proof that folk music is the music of the folk, this features almost exclusively solo performers nobody ever heard of before or since, and the album still hoots and hollers from beginning to end. It's tempting to say the songs — “Ida Red,” “Soldier's Joy,” “Tom Dooley” “Cripple Creek” — are the real attractions here, because that's the way it's supposed to be with traditional music. But that would fail to acknowledge the way Wade Ward, say, brings such fresh hoedown get-down to “Ida Red,” as well as the unforgettably shaky vocals and rock-solid banjo of Vester Jones.