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This lovely sampler lifts tracks from various Rounder recordings to present an intriguing look at the contemporary old-time music scene, the end result of which is a soothing, graceful tour through a world that raises nostalgia to a living, breathing art. When the folk revival of the 1960s brought old-time Appalachian and Deep South traditions to the attention of young urban musicians, it essentially rescued those traditions for the future, and musicians playing this kind of thing since have tended to follow one of two arcs, either working to preserve the music (the New Lost City Ramblers would be a perfect example) or to reinvent it for the current age (as Tony Trischka has attempted to do with his various ensembles), or even, as groups like Dry Branch Fire Squad have done, fold it into the umbrella of bluegrass while still retaining the old-time sensibilities. What matters most, whatever path to the river is chosen, is that the music and its melodies have survived, and since the success of movies like O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Cold Mountain, both of which featured old-time music soundtracks, they have even flourished and flirted with the pop charts. Come to the Mountain has a lovely, seamlessly unfolding sequence, highlighted by the gorgeous title tune, done by the Putnam String County Band (which can boast having both fiddler Jay Ungar and Ramblers founder John Cohen as members). Other standout tracks here include Dirk Powell and Jim Miller's sprightly and spare "Hop High My Lulu Gal," Corey Harris' "Station Blues" (a version of "Sitting On Top of the World" that features Shardé Thomas and the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band), and Dry Branch Fire Squad's signature bluegrass/string band hybrid sound on "Walking Back to Richmond." Far from feeling like a reenactment, the music on Come to the Mountain feels vital, fluid, and alive.
|Label:||Rounder / Umgd|