Tim Eriksen,
Every Sound Below
(Appleseed, 2004)

The movie Cold Mountain and the novels of Sharyn McCrumb have awakened a new interest in the traditional folk music of America. Celtic and other music have influenced it, but there is also a unique American style. One of the best exponents of this is Tim Eriksen.

As is to be expected the Civil War looms large in the genre, and Eriksen tells us a beautiful tale of the conflict on "The Southern Girl's Reply." He is mean fiddler, too, and "The Soldier's Return" is a prime example of this. It also illustrates the history of tunes. He tells us he found it in a fiddle primer in Boston, but when he played it in England it was recognised as a Morris tune collected by Cecil Sharp. "John Colby's Hymn" recalls the life of a preacher from 1810.

As in all good folk album collections there has to be the murder song. The example here is "Two Sisters." The title track, an original composition by Eriksen, is one that shows what it really means to hear a "haunting song." This sound rather than the lyrics will lodge in the brain and haunt you for days.

This album may not spawn many hit singles, but it is an essential part of the collection for anyone professing a love for or interest in American folk music.

The production, arrangements and performances are probably as close as you will hear to authentic singing of traditional music of the United States. Eriksen recreates the field recording that meant the survival of these tunes before they became "cool" or even "popular" again in the 1960s boom.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 11 September 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.