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TEILHARD FROST - As The Crow Flies 

TEILHARD FROST - As The Crow Flies 
Sepiaphone Records 

Canadian old-time specialist Teilhard is founder of the Sheesham, Lotus & ’Son trio that over the past few years has brought an abundance of authentic energy and quirky showmanship to the contemporary-retro presentation of real-deal old-time repertoire. Teilhard’s new solo album is something of a whistle-stop tour through the traditional music found in the Appalachian highlands. Although banjo-making is one of Teilhard’s day-jobs (he plays a number of different banjos and sings), he also brings to the party his mastery of fiddle, jaw harp and blues harmonica (and foot percussion) in a lively and varied programme that casts fresh light on tunes and songs of varying degrees of familiarity to the old-time enthusiast, while also introducing us to some less-well-known pieces from the repertoires of such legendary characters as fiddler Hiram Stamper, banjo player Lee Hammons and singers Keith Murphy and Lee Monroe Presnell. Among the discoveries on this set are its two a cappella outings (the fervent hymn The Day Is Passed And Gone and the “happy ever after” song Awake My Own True Lover; the “pretty” banjo tune Brigg’s Cornshucking Breakdown; and the high-octane fiddle tune Brushy Forks Of John’s Creek. Teilhard’s also an adept arranger, viz his take on When First Unto This Country (initially learnt from the singing of Mike Seeger); he also turns in a great twin-fiddle rendition of The Dusty Miller and a spirited account of the “kick-ass” fiddle tune Glory In The Meeting House.

The disc’s subtitle, Traditional Old Time Music Of North America, is accurate, sure, but it’s almost too modest and rather underplays the impact of Teilhard’s musicianship; I’d recommend it wholeheartedly, along with the half-dozen albums he’s made with the trio.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.