Mountain Thyme,
A Smile at the Door
(self-produced, 2006)

My only complaint about Mountain Thyme is the length between their recordings.

Though the band has been performing Appalachian Celtic music together since 1983, A Smile at the Door is only their fourth album. Admitedly, they do have a busy performance schedule that takes them all over their native West Virginia and into surrounding states. So, perhaps it's well that they pace out their recordings and avoid the possibility of becoming commonplace.

The group was formed in 1983 by five friends who had been learning and playing informally. Composition of the band has shifted periodically since 1989 as some members left to follow other paths and were replaced by new artists. Despite these changes, which even included the addition of a male member at one point, the tenor of their music has remained fairly constant.

They sing and play with a grace appropriate to their traditional style of music. Their music tells tales of experience and place. It's pleasant listening all the way through and I know I'll be listening to this CD more than a few times.

Many of the 16 selections on this CD will be familiar to fans of traditional music. This includes such old favorites as "Bold Riley," "My Johnny was a Shoemaker" and "Gile Mear." There are also a number of original compositions that, though of modern creation, sound as vintage as the others. An outstanding example of this is the Colum Sands piece, "The Night is Young."

The group is once more all female and includes Pam Curry, vocals, bouzouki and autoharp; Jan Carroll, vocals and flute; Libby Musser, vocals, bass, piano, tenor banjo, synthesizer and harmonica; and Linda Workman, vocals, guitar, djembe, synthesizer and mandolin. Tom Thurman, who filled in as guitarist for a period in 2000, continues to assist the band in a variety of roles. He guests on this album on guitar along with Cathy Grant on violin and viola.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
John R. Lindermuth

21 July 2007

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