David Holt & Josh Goforth,
Cutting Loose
(High Windy, 2009)

By their very nature, live albums, and particularly those with extended speaking parts on them, tend to have a you-shoulda-been-there quality. Unlike other recordings, they don't always repay repeated listening. Cutting Loose is possibly no exception, except that it is so good-natured that, yes, I've played it a few times now, on each occasion with undiminished pleasure.

David Holt, a longtime presence on the trad-folk scene, is an accomplished player of a variety of stringed and other grassroots instruments, an easy-on-the ear singer, a storyteller and an educator. Native North Carolinian Josh Goforth, younger and less known, may or may not be fairly characterized as Holt's protege -- he did, after all, grow up in the mountains and learn from traditional musicians -- but he certainly seems so in outlook and stage skills. In any event, the two are clearly well-paired as both personalities and performers.

Recorded at the National Storytelling Festival, Cutting Loose nicely balances, on one side, humorously affectionate yarns about the old-time Carolina people -- the late Piedmont guitarist Etta Baker, most famously -- who carried the traditions and, on the other, heart-felt performances of native-soil fiddle tunes, songs and rural blues, including a version of "Cripple Creek" played on mouth-bow and paper bag.

It's good stuff all around. As I can testify from experience, listening to it will make you feel better.

review by
Jerome Clark

19 December 2009

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new