Hull-House Revival,
Letter from America
(Local Fokel, 1992)

Letter from America is a collection of folk songs both old and new. Hull-House Revival, a trio from western New York, sings folk songs celebrating the lives of ordinary people.

The album is uncluttered with extra instruments and electronic meddling. The rich baritone voice of singer Dean Santos adds to the album. Listening to Letter from America is like having Dean and his fellow bandmates in the room with you, or as if you were attending a live folk-singing session.

With Dean, the ordinary sometimes takes on a twist. Like many songwriters, he gives his songs a personal note, but not many men would sing about giving birth. (The birth in this case was not a child, but a kidney stone -- twins, no less.) "Chat with Mom" is about using profanity, and one word in particular.

But next to these cute little ditties are traditional songs like "Red is the Rose," "Lonesome Valley" and "Lady of the Harbour," which is about immigrants coming to America.

Letter from America is an album that folk enthusiasts will want to have in their collection. And anyone who enjoys a good chuckle will want to hear what Dean has to sing about on this album.

by Sherrill Fulghum
5 August 2006