Review by Steven Stone
Click here to e-mail reviewer
CD Stock Number: Compass Records 7 4337 2
Drew Emmitt, Leftover Salmon's mandolin player, experienced a year of highs and lows. The low-point came with the death of his
bandmate, banjo player Mark Vann, from melanoma at the age of 33. Drew's highpoint is most likely the release of his first solo CD on Compass Records. Joined by John Cowan on bass, vocals, and co-production, Jeff Autry on guitar and vocals, Scott Vestal on banjo, Stuart Duncan, Luke Bulla, Vassar Clements, and Sam Bush on fiddle, Passi Leppikasngas on drums and percussion, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, and Peter Rowan on harmony vocals, it is anything but a "solo" release.
Leftover Salmon describes their music as poly-ethnic Cajun slam-grass. Drew Emmitt's new CD covers similarly diverse musical ground. Emmitt's own original compositions make up six of the eleven cuts. Songs vary from a very Cajun "Bend in the River" to a Reggae influenced "Solid Ground," to roots-country "One Step at a Time." Peter Rowan's "Rainmaker" and the old standard "Memories of Mom and Dad." Provide a large dollop of bluegrass. Bob Dylan's "Tangled up in Blue," and John Cale's "If You're Ever in Oklahoma" supply the folkier contributions to the song roster. Despite the wide variety in song choices
Freedom Ride has a remarkable musical consistency throughout. All the songs are organically energized with white-boy folk-funk.
The sound quality lives up to what I've come to expect from Compass Records. The sonics are clear and defined as well as warm and natural. Engineer Dave Sinko has managed to combine a lively immediate sound with a fine sense of spaciousness. This is about as easy to accomplish as dancing on the head of a pin. And while we're on the subject of dancing,
Freedom Ride will very likely to get your feet moving in a way that might, to the untrained eye, closely resemble a boogie.
Sound Quality: 90