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JAKE BLOUNT - Spider Tales 

JAKE BLOUNT - Spider Tales 
Free Dirt Records DIRTCD0097 

Now, here is something that is both exciting and different.

The first thing was to listen to the album; that was difficult enough in itself because of the need to press 'replay track' every time we came to Jake’s take on Leadbelly's Where Did You Sleep Last Night in order to check that it was quite as perfect as it sounded on the first listening.

The next thing was to read the biography on his website and register no surprise at all that his mentors and teachers have included Bruce Molsky, as well as members of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Jake’s repertoire has some crossover with that excellent band, with their Black string band tunes and songs, but without the hokum and medicine show elements.

There is just so much to admire about this album. Jake’s singing is just right for this sort of music, he has a remarkable and varied approach to frailing banjo, and his fiddle playing carries a punch. He is well supported by his musical friends and the album reaches high points every time there are fiddle tune duets with Tatiana Hargreaves, but the contributions of Rachel Eddy (guitar) and Haselden Ciaccio (bass) are also significant when a string band sound is called for. Succinct but informative booklet notes show that Jake knows the genre very fully.

The situation that we have lived through in 2020 has meant that many album releases have been delayed or cancelled this year, but this is by some distance the best album to have reached these ears this year.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 135 of The Living Tradition magazine