Artist: Martin Carthy (with Dave Swarbrick)
Album: Byker Hill (Book Entry)
Stream the whole album at Myspace
Overall I wouldn't have minded this album, but I read Tom Moon's entry before I listened to it, and I had unfounded expectations. He describes the album as a "virtuoso thrill" of folk music, that "Carthy is a multitasking marvel here, singing breathless extended melodies and plucking out fast counterlines in the background." I thought, wow, I really like the new Indie Folk movement (Iron & Wine, Devendra Banhart, Sam Amidon, The Tallest Man on Earth, I could go on, but I'll stop there) so it will be cool to hear a guy who "modernized" folk music. I already like Dylan, and discovered I really like Joan Baez through this book. Well, in the end, unfortunately, it was pretty lackluster. Evidently I don't like British folk. It sounded like Celtic music to me, all "eedle-deedle-dee," sea-chantey stuff. Not that I can't listen to that, but it all sounds the same to me, and although the violin in the background was nice, the guitar playing was so subdued as to be non-existent, and I found Martin's voice mediocre at best. But I guess in the end I learned something. I loved the Dock Boggs entry, who Sam Amidon shares some songs with, and I can see the direct line from the country folk he did, and the Indie stuff I like today, and the same is true with Baez and Dylan translating to Bright Eyes and The Tallest Man on Earth. This folk, along with The Almanac Singers, who I didn't enjoy either, may be part of the history of the music I like, but in the end this style has not been assimilated into modern folk. For whatever reason, this era of the music was a stepping stone to the good stuff I like now, in the same way that "Modern Rock" of the 80's sounds pretty awful now, but were it not for the experimentation of that era we wouldn't have bands like Radiohead or Pearl Jam, etc. Maybe at this point I could make some sort of connection to my baby being fussy, and maybe he is having a growth spurt, and in the end this was a necessary step in his development. And maybe I could even connect it to Lebron and say he needed to leave Cleveland in order for us to grow. But I won't go that far. He still goes up there with Art Modell, John Elway, and Michael Jordan on the list of people not invited back to Cleveland.
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