Sunday, 4 November 2007
a whole lotta folk
Last weekend in Birmingham, I was waiting for a few minutes in the record store near the corner of the Bullring. I spotted a 'folk' section and decided to take a look. It was all Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and a lavish Sandy Denny boxed set, apart from a few sampler collections. Nothing wrong with these choices, but they are from about 1970. It looked like pretty much an afterthought in a low footfall part of the store.
So quite good to hear the recent release from Alison Krauss and Robert Plant (yes, they). It mixes bluegrass songstress and the ex Zeppo frontman more in the Brony-aur acoustic territory. The 'roots music' based tracks have a surprising strong bass and drum (don't worry its not hip-hop but someone has been playing with a multicompressor) as well as a fairly broad spectrum from banjo, piano, through blues, slide and some diddly folk. The musicianship and the mix create an undercurrent that is quite tense and uses both with American style country and some British folk music influences. The production is by T-Bone Burnett, and the band includes musicians such as Marc Ribot (Tom Waits guitarist, amongst others) and the drumming of Jay Bellerose.
Some may object, but what interested me was that this treatment of the numbers had been adapted into something from the 21st century. We can have folk and country but with a modern twist.
let your loss be your lesson