ROE FAMILY SINGERS

ROE-FAMILY-SINGERSROE FAMILY SINGERS
SONGS OF THE MOUNTAINS, SONGS OF THE PLAINS

Pinecastle Recordings
PRC1210

The Roe Family Singers are from Minnesota and feature Kim Roe on vocals, autoharp, and washboard, and Quillan Roe on vocals, banjo, and archtop guitar, plus a large backup band with everything from electric guitar to musical saw. These 15 selections (there is one medley) include five Roe originals, a tune by fiddler Ric Lee, five traditional songs, and other selections from A.P. Carter, Albert E. Brumley, Bill Monroe, and Woody Guthrie.

The CD opens with a solo banjo introduction to “Pretty Fair Maid In The Garden,” sung in a strong and sweet duet by the Roes. The first original, “O Young Lovers,” sounds as if it could be an old song. Kim Roe reveals a powerful rockabilly voice in “Ida Red.” Another original, “John The Messenger” has a gospel message, but sounds more contemporary. Their arrangement of “Rank Strangers To Me” is simple and lovely with soaring vocals. The next original, “Peter Tosh,” is very old-time with a clawhammer lead and a topical message. The single instrumental track is a medley of “Swedish Schottische” and “The Bluejay” by Lee, from one-two-three jump to minor. The second tune sounds a bit like “Shady Grove.” The last two Roe originals are “I’m Falling For You” and “The Road Is Rocky.” “Falling…” has a Western Swing sound. A hard-driving version of “Hallelujah, I’m Ready To Go” serves as the gospel number. “Sweet Fern” gets another simple arrangement with a solo guitar introduction and features Kim Roe singing in a voice both pretty and powerful. Monroe’s “Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine” appropriately gets a bluegrass treatment in both vocals and backup. I hear a different singer on lead and there is three-part harmony on the chorus. The liner notes say that guitar player Dan Gaarder is also on vocals. The closer, “This Land Is Your Land,” is done in a folk style (as could be expected).

This is primarily a vocal album with two excellent and well-matched voices. It covers a wide range of styles, and gets most of them spot on. If that appeals to you, give them a listen. (Pinecastle Records, 2514 River Rd., Ste. 105, Piedmont, SC 29673, www.pinecastlemusic.com.)SAG

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