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John Waltham of Living Tradition

reviews Roam the Country Through by Jeff Warner

This is an enchanting and entirely absorbing collection by one of the foremost singers in the US folk world. Jeff’s parents spent a lifetime collecting and disseminating music from Tennessee to New Hampshire and beyond, so Jeff’s spent a lifetime with their work, and has expanded the horizons even further. He’s familiar over here as a result of his regular tours, and this CD casts an eye over a broad range of song types throughout its 17 tracks, so you’ll find everything from home-grown US classics like Days Of 49 through spirituals and Tin Pan Alley numbers (I loved Girls They Go Wild Over Me) to songs that emigrated from the old world and developed in different ways to their European cousins – like Darwin’s Galapagos creatures in fact, although Jeff’s Lass Of Glenshee has less variations than many versions from different parts of the British Isles.

There is so much here to intrigue the listener. Add to that the uniformly fine singing and exquisite accompaniments, mainly on concertina and banjo with the odd evidence of Jeff’s jig doll percussion, and you have something that will reward several hearings. You’ll find more sides to many of the tracks as you go through the recording again. The sleeve notes are concise and very informative, and underline the depth of Jeff’s background as far as his music’s concerned.

You may guess from all this that I enjoyed this CD. You’d be quite right.