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JODY STECHER & KATE BRISLIN "Heart Songs The Old Time Country Songs of Utah Phillips" ROUNDER CD0424

Thirteen country songs of folk bard, Utah Phillips, (the great voice of America's south west) performed by stout old timey purveyors, Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin. The husband and wife team accompanying themselves (as ever) on, guitars, mandolin and on, "John D Lee", banjo, Jody. A simple bare - boned, acoustic affair. Utah's heartsongs and brother duets rich in heritage values focussing on events big and small (some, deemed by Utah as being most worthy of Phillip's close scrutiny).

"Scofield Disaster", a song reminiscent of a Norman Blake tune - awash in southern sensibilities and such tunes as, "Green Rolling Hills Of West Virginia" (it has been covered by Emmylou, and Hazel Dickens, who added another verse to it), "Rock, Salt & Nails", a song recorded by everyone from Baez, to bluegrass bands to his observation of an event, "The Jury Set Him Free". Beautiful melody, Jody, a past master of the art excelling on the album - and sweet heart-tugging vocal harmonies to be in turn, bolstered by carefully threaded acoustic guitar runs.

Stecher & Brislin rarely fail to move me considerable so - music of the Appalachian hills converging with music of the plains. Songs telling of orphan trains, Morman immigrants, failed dreams and, family songs. Whether heartache or joy immense beauty leaks forth. "Golden Mansion", "I Remember Loving You" and a serene, "Walking Through Your Town In The Snow" among the finest indictments of both their talent, and Utah's. Essential acoutis fare!

Maurice Hope

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This album was reviewed in Issue 23 of The Living Tradition magazine.