Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer,
Drum Hat Buddha
(Signature Sounds, 2001)

Over the past year Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer have attracted a lot of attention from people in the folk music world. Their Tanglewood Tree CD appeared on many people's best CDs of 2000 lists. Their follow up, Drum Hat Buddha, will easily rank as one of the best folk CDs of 2001.

Dave Carter has established himself as a brilliant songwriter. He has been compared to people like Richard Thompson and Towns Van Zandt. Raised in Oklahoma and Texas, his influences came from a music-fearing engineer/mathematician father and a charismatic Christian mother. He spent time working as a psychologist where he practiced meditation and studied dreams. These gave Dave some unique perspectives when it came to songwriting. His songs explore mythic themes of dislocation and love and loss, tales of the hard edge of living in the American heartland.

The songs on Drum Hat Buddha range from beautiful metaphysical ballads to a good truck-driving song. They are filled with beautiful haunting melodies combined with well-crafted lyrics and beautiful vocal harmonies. Dave plays guitar and banjo and Tracy plays mandolin and fiddle. Tracy's vocals are more prominently featured on this CD than in the past.

The opening track "Ordinary Town" takes a look at life in a small town. "Tillman Co." also looks at life in a small town and the terror and beauty of nature's spirits. "I Go Like the Raven" was described as a vision that appeared in a dream, a song about shapeshifting and empowerment, It features Tracy's haunting fiery fiddle playing and vocals set to a Celtic/bluegrass sounding melody. "Highway 80 She's a Mighty Good Road" is the CDs truck-driving song. "Love, the Magician" and "Gentle Arms of Eden" are other examples of beautiful melodies combined with Dave's mythical lyrics.

If you are looking for good music and a very enjoyable live show, folk music doesn't get any better than Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer.

[ by Dave Townsend ]
Rambles: 27 October 2001

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