Song of the Traveling Daughter

Song of the Traveling Daughter

5.0 4
by Abigail Washburn
     
 

Less astringent than Gillian Welch but coming from a similar place -- an imaginary zone somewhere between the Civil War and WWI -- Abigail Washburn makes a striking debut with Songs of the Traveling Daughter. Playing clawhammer banjo and singing in a pure, mountain voice of aching beauty that's a dead ringer for the young See more details below

Overview

Less astringent than Gillian Welch but coming from a similar place -- an imaginary zone somewhere between the Civil War and WWI -- Abigail Washburn makes a striking debut with Songs of the Traveling Daughter. Playing clawhammer banjo and singing in a pure, mountain voice of aching beauty that's a dead ringer for the young Emmylou Harris, Washburn (who also plays with the acoustic outfit Uncle Earl) fashions music of spare and haunting delicacy. Her collaborators are well schooled in inventive acoustic music -- unsurprising, given that one of the disc's co-producers is the visionary Béla Fleck, who adds his rich sound signature on National steel and banjo as well. Washburn leans toward a sound that is at once rootsy and progressive, even while it sounds ancient. The album opener, "Sometimes," starts off like a jolly mountain hoedown, but suddenly, between verses, in comes a cello outburst that wouldn't have been out of place on a Beatles record. On the lilting, tender "Rockabye Dixie," the acoustic guitar and steadily plinking banjo are joined in the choruses by a droning accordion chord that suggests a church organ humming in the midst of a lullaby. Emmylou -- or rather her spirit -- is all over "Who's Gonna Shoe," which, given its ethereal mood and classical-folk fusion of cello and banjo, could pass for a Wrecking Ball outtake. The musicians show restraint and a heightened sense of drama, all the better to keep the focus on Washburn's mesmerizing vocals and quirky tales. This one will sneak up on you and stay around for a long, long time.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
Abigail Washburn was busy during the first half of 2005, laying down tracks for her first solo album on Nettwerk and serving as a member of Uncle Earl on Rounder. Song of the Traveling Daughter is an apt title for the type of folk music Washburn makes: acoustic, easygoing, and tuneful. Songs like "Sometimes" and "Rockabye Dixie" give the impression of being traditional, and Washburn's simple, old-style banjo accompaniment deepens this impression. However, these and the other songs on Traveling Daughter are mostly originals, and when they're backed by offbeat arrangements, it's clear that she wasn't born in Appalachia. These fresh elements, especially on cuts like "Coffee's Cold" and "Eve Stole the Apple," present Washburn at her best. The jazzy guitar and banjo work, catchy upbeat melody, and harmony make "Coffee's Cold" a jaunty, fun bit of nonsense, while heavy bass, percussion, and sassy fiddle add a sonic blast to "Eve Stole the Apple." "Who's Gonna Shoe" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine," on the other hand, sound rather blasé in comparison. Taken at a lackadaisical pace, both are pleasant, but less essential. Even here, though, Washburn is a good singer, capable of bringing an airy quality to neo-traditionalism. Song of the Traveling Daughter is a good first album that will appeal to fans of the Be Good Tanyas and Uncle Earl.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/02/2005
Label:
Nettwerk Records
UPC:
0067003042321
catalogNumber:
30423
Rank:
56140

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Abigail Washburn   Primary Artist,Banjo
Béla Fleck   Banjo,Steel Guitar
Tim Lauer   Accordion,Keyboards
Ben Sollee   Cello
Casey Driessen   Fiddle
Ryan Hoyle   Percussion,Tom-Tom,Djembe,Shaker,finger cymbals
Jordan McConnell   Guitar,uillean pipes,Low Whistle
Amanda Kowalski   Upright Bass

Technical Credits

Béla Fleck   Producer
Traditional   Composer
Reid Scelza   Producer
Ben Sollee   Arranger
Jordan McConnell   Arranger
Abigail Washburn   Arranger,Composer,Producer

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