Vic Smith of fRoots
reviews Roam the Country Through by Jeff WarnerIt is rather odd that in such a peculiarly British institution, the folk club that some of the most consistently popular and successful artists are Americans. An impressionistic listing gives, amongst many others, the late Tom Paley, as well as Sara Grey, Dana Robinson, Bruce Molsky.... and of course, Jeff Warner.
This release, his second solo for the English company finds him on very fine form. He chooses two very different British accompanists to work with here and clearly he is sparked into elevated performances by the empathy that he achieves in their company.
In particular his banjo heard alongside Ben Paley's fiddle is an inspired combination and a fresh life and enthusiasm is brought to old favourites like My Dixie Darling and Gypsum Davy.
A different quality is brought by the singing and keyboard playing of Alice Jones and the contrasting quality of two reed instruments - his concertina and her harmonium is particularly pleasing.
As with his live performances, a lot of thought has gone into the programming of the album; the pace, key, mood and instrumentation are all varied effectively.
Having worked with Jeff on the technical side of the multimedia show about his parents' great song collecting work, it comes as no surprise to hear a number of these included here, In particular he always expressed a great admiration for one of his parents' informants, John Galusha and there is something very affectionate about the way that treats the three learned from this excellent singer who had a number of tremendous songs in his repertoire. in particular, Lass of Glenshee, weaves a fine spell and it is the song that rings in the ears after each listening.