Chris Coole & Ivan Rosenberg - Farewell Trion

Chris Coole & Ivan Rosenberg - Farewell Trion


VoleOTone Records
VOT 2139

Nearly a lifetime ago, Folkways released an album called Persistence And Change In The Blue Ridge. That describes this project very well. The music predates our time. The delivery and sensitivity with which the music is performed is contemporary. Great music persists and survives the changes in interpretation. It not only survives, it blooms.

Who would think that an album based upon clawhammer banjo and resonator guitar would work so well? Chris Coole is the primary banjo player. He is an accomplished player and his understated approach is richer for it. By taking it back, deep into the mountains, he breathes new life into the old evergreen, “John Hardy,” making it something appealing and new. The intertwining of the resonator guitar and banjo is compelling in its sonority. On an original tune, “Carolyn Sanaskol,” John Reischman adds his fine mandolin playing to the duo.

With the exception of one other original, the material is traditional. Skipping intermediary sources, they bypass the Carter Family and go to the Carters’ source, Leslie Riddle, for “Cannonball Blues.” Coole’s fingerpicked guitar is derived from Riddle’s fine version of this song. Coole’s lead vocals get to the core of the songs and add much to this fine project; the vocals are refined with the right amount of edge.

There is a wide variety of music here and Rosenberg’s reading of “In The Garden” on resonator guitar captures the feel of Brother Oswald at his best, then proceeds to take it to a new place altogether in his masterful touch with the old hymn.

Strong material, rich vocals, and highly accomplished musicianship place this project at the top of the list. The careful juxtaposition of the old and new bring a depth to the performances that only comes with a true knowledge of the genre. When a CD keeps working its way to the number one spot in your listening priorities, it has to have that special something. This humble recording does. (Chris Coole, 540 Quebec Ave., Toronto, ON, M6P 2V7, Canada, RCB