Enough of Mountain Music, Already -Almost
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 08/18/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The music of the mountains, in this case the mountains of Appalachia, down in coal country in eastern Kentucky, as I have seemingly endlessly noted in the recent past, is the music of my father and his forbears, although I am a city boy and came to an appreciation of that music by a very circuitous route. But it must be in the genes, right? Well, genetic disposition or not when I view the first parts of this "Traditional Music Classics DVD even I was ready to disown my heritage. Why?
Well, partly it was due to the weak performances of the first performer, Doc Watson (and ensemble). While I can take old Doc in small doses he does not generally speak to me. He certainly did not here. Then there was the problem with mountain banjo player extraordinaire Roscoe Holcomb. His previously viewed performances in other venues were the reason I wanted to see him on this one. Maybe, it is a matter of overexposure but old Roscoe's performance here seemed weak and tinny (unless his performance on the 1960s Pete Seeger television show "Rainbow Quest" where he wowed me). And then...
And then, indeed. Up comes Kilby Snow, a performer who I had heard of previously but whose music I had not heard, with his very own Montgomery Ward-purchased autoharp (with some personally done refinements), aided and abetted by the late Mike Seeger of the New Lost City Ramblers (and Pete Seeger's half-brother), and blew me away. Mike hardly needed to coax Brother Snow to strut his stuff but remember that point I made above about the genetic connection. Old Kilby and his autoharp-driven songs called me back to the hills of home. This is why you want to view this one.