Sunday, April 3, 2016

Ken Perlman - Northern Banjo (Canada 2001) [320]

Ken Perlman's first album for the respected bluegrass and old-time music label Copper Creek finds him expanding both his own stylistic horizons and those of his new label. The repertoire here is not new to him -- Perlman has long championed the fiddle tunes of the northeastern U.S. and Canada's Maritime Provinces -- but the addition of electric bass, bouzouki, uillean pipes, and exotic percussion to the musical mix is new for Perlman, who has generally stuck to more austere and tradition-minded arrangements in his recorded work. The result is absolutely beautiful. Whereas most five-string banjo players use the instrument's shorter fifth string as a drone, Perlman tends to use it as just one more melody string, with the result that his playing can sometimes be lacking in rhythmic spring. But that approach does lend itself more to the jigs and hornpipes he loves to play, and even on the reels (and one bluegrass-y breakdown) his sweetly flowing lines and carefully crafted arrangements are a joy to hear. And when he lays down the banjo and picks up a guitar for a few finger-style settings of Irish and Scottish tunes, the sound is no less lovely. Highlights on this program include the heart-tugging guitar arrangement of "Niel Gow's Lament for His Second Wife," the intricately beautiful "Braes of Auchtertyre/Caber Feidh" set, and Perlman's own "Road to Mexico." Highly recommended.

1.    The Poppy Leaf/Stack of Barley/The East Newk of Bear River    3:58
2.    Rock Valley Jig/Light&Airy/The Munster Lass    3:14
3.    The Banks Hornpipe/The Democratic Rage/Miss Johnson of Pittworth    4:15
4.    Robert Cormak,Aberdeen/Compliments to Buddy MacMaster/Fisher's Hornpipe    3:52
5.    Kenmure's Awa'/Wilfred's Fiddle/Jackson's Jig    3:11
6.    Road to Mexico    3:51
7.    Guitar Solo: Neil Gow's Lament for His Second Wife    3:17
8.    Lord MacDonald's Reel/The Princess Reel/The Honeymoon    3:21
9.    The Brae's of Auchterty/Caber Feidh    3:32
10.    Guitar Solo: Lament for James Moray, Abercarney/Dunie Mains/The Chaisson Reel    4:20
11.    Shandon Bells/The Orange and Blue/Chorus Jig    3:16
12.    Stella's Trip to Kamloops/The Iron Man/Angus Campbell/Dillon Brown/Big John MacNeil    5:52
13.    Guitar Solo: The Sweetness of Mary/Mason's Apron    3:31
14.    Georgina Campbell/Little Jack's Reel/Levantine's Barrel    3:14


Skylamb said...

Northern Banjo
pw: folkyourself

Barron said...

Looking forward to hearing this. I've spent a lot of time over the years with Perlman's instructional materials, but haven't heard a proper album from him. Thanks!

Feilimid O'Broin said...

I usually access your blog one or two times a month and download multiple posts. Consequently, I don't thank you as often as I should. Your blog is unique and consistently wonderful for providing actual and traditional folk music, rather than music by contemporary singer-songwriters which is so often called folk music here in the United States and especially in my home town Boston and its neighboring city Cambridge. In particular, I love the Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Breton, Galician, Scandinavian, French, and Catalan recordings. However, I really treasure it all. Other than folk artists known internationally, such as Capercaillie and Dick Gaughan, so much of it would be difficult, if not impossible, to learn about or find from one source in my country so I consistently rely on this blog to refer me to artists about whom I have not yet heard but really enjoy. Invariably, I end up buying much more of their music after first hearing it here. You are my de facto folk music store.

Thank you and all of the other contributors again for expending the considerable time and effort to inform and educate us about and allow us to listen to this music. My music collection and enjoyment of folk music would be much the lesser were it not for all of you. I suspect the lack of comments must make you scratch your head from time to time and wonder if you are appreciated. If my single voice counts or is echoed by others who follow my comment, you are, more than you know.

Anonymous said...

Where is the download link?

Anonymous said...

Here Here!!

gregosgregos said...

Good album with some enjoying tunes like Kenmure's awa jig(aka I will if I can jig) or the munster lass jig.
Thanks Skylamb !
(and thanks to for categorising the repertoire of jigs reels and hornpipes.)

gregosgregos said...

Edit : Can you delete my precedent message (and this phrase)?

Thank you Skylamb for this post.
I discover a wonderful musician and a great album full of enjoying tune (7 ot those I appreciate to play on whistle and a big crush for " the road to Mexico ")

[work] said...

Hello! I downloaded the file but when I try to decompress with the usual password, gives error, it will be? Thank you for the patience.

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