Australians, at least some of them, really love American old-time and bluegrass music. They aren’t as picky as Americans are about which is which, but they love it and play it just the same. Here banjo player, Peter Somerville plays both clawhammer and Scruggs-style banjo with a keen dexterity. His band is Peter Denahy on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and bass. Fran Martin joins him for harmony vocals and tenor guitar on the Carter family song “Hello Stranger.” Many tunes are listed as originals, but have that familiarity that makes one comfortable with them right off. For instance, “Josie’s Return” sounds closely related to “Western Country” (which also has at least three more titles).
Some of the tunes have similar names to tunes played here in states. The original, “Foster’s Reel” is a different tune than the traditional tune played here in the States. A song “Rain And Snow” from the late Obray Ramsey of Madison County, North Carolina, is here. Best known perhaps as a Grateful Dead song, it migrated into their repertory most likely from Del McCoury’s recording of it forty years ago. “Handsome Molly” gets an early bluegrass treatment. “Icy Creek” shows off Somerville’s melodic banjo playing. The program ends with a nice reading of the Delmore’s “Blue Railroad Train.” All in all, an enjoyable listen and an interesting look into what is going on down under. (petersomervillebanjo.blogspot.com.au)RCB