doing Ky. acoustically proud

Cumberland Consort (Willow Shade)
Cumberland Consort

By John Goodin

The Cumberland Consort are David Kelsey, Sharon Law and Stephen Webber. Based in the Bowling Green area, they perform on a myriad of mostly acoustic instruments: guitar, violin, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, lute, banjo, sitar, bass and keyboards. They successfully demonstrate their abilities in this tasteful and varied program.

Beginning with a tight arrangement of
a frequently recorded 14th Century "Estample," the trio covers a lot of ground. A couple of straight classical pieces, one from Scott Joplin, Don McLean's "Vincent," a fiddle tune medley and a swinging "Mack the Knife" are all played with great skill.

Three original compositions bearing Kentucky place names are of special interest. "South Union" (Kelsey), "Mammoth" (Webber) and "Cumberland Falls" (Laws and Webber) all feature a more electric sound. With kind of a spunky new age feel, these tunes are oddly reminiscent of some of Earl Klugh's work.

The closing cut is an arrangement of "My Old Kentucky Home" for three classical guitars by Martha Kelsey; it alone is worth the price of admission. Kelsey's arrangement, and the Consort's moving performance, recovers Foster's beautiful melody from the realm of anthem overkill and emphasizes its gentle, pastoral essence. Ask your friendly neighborhood radio station to play this cut for you. You'll be pleased and the DJ will thank you for it.