Edwards has put together a nice CD of songs about his home state of North Carolina. The songs, new and old, rare and familiar, for the most part are played well with the help of a long list of mostly Tarheel musicians. We get treated to another guitar version of “Black Mountain Rag,” and a reading of “Tom Dula” that owes much more to Frank Proffitt than to the Kingston Trio. There is a somewhat subdued version of “Poor Ellen Smith” and a nice rendition of Elizabeth Cotten’s “Freight Train” featuring some fine guitar picking from Jim Mills. Edwards wrote five originals for the project and they all sound fine as well. Interesting among the originals are “The Ghost Light Of Maco Station” and “Holy Smoke,” an ode to the sacred food of the Tarheel, barbecue. Then there is his tale of Yankee youths challenging and running from the supernatural in “Devil’s Tramping Ground.”
Two numbers that will be well known by long time fans of bluegrass are Flatt and Scruggs’ “My Cabin In Caroline” and the Stanley Brothers’ “Carolina Mountain Home,” which features Ralph Stanley’s current fiddler, Dewey Brown, and Jim Mills.
This recording may hold more for North Carolina natives than folks who live elsewhere, but it is a pleasantly done and well recorded tribute to a state that is not only full of history, mystery and lore, but has also long been a hotbed of bluegrass and homegrown music. (Salisbury Street Recordings, P.O. Box 364, Pittsboro, NC 27312.) RCB