Acoustic beauty, passed down

My Mother's Voice (Copper Creek)

Kathy Kallick

By Bob Mitchell

An acoustic instrument coupled with the human voice is one of the sweetest sounds on earth and this project is surely one of the sweetest from Kallick. She has gathered seventeen delicious songs from her mother, a trend-setting Chicago folk singer in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Although I never heard Dodi Kallick, this recording make me wish I had.

Fifteen of the seventeen tracks are presented in a straightforward, simple manner with minimal instrumentation and a voice or two. My Mother's Voice is a lovely recording that puts the listener in Kallick's kitchen during an informal jam session with a bevy of talented friends. (In reality, some of the session is in Jim Nunally's studio's kitchen, but Kallick is so personal, you feel as though you are in her kitchen.) A full Bluegrass band breathes enthusiasm and drive into any song, but for this recording Kallick has wisely chosen to present a musical tribute with "less than a full band."

Peter Rowan guests on three cuts: A.P. Carter's classic, "Hello Stranger," the oft-covered tragic "Banks of The Ohio," and an unusually slow, haunting arrangement of "Shady Grove." The most outstanding song, however, is a heart-wrenching take on "Rosewood Casket." Jim Nually's guitar, Keith Little's harmony, and Sally Van Meter's slide guitar provide the perfect vehicle for this lonesome classic. And, speaking of Van Meter, she joins Norton Buffalo (harmonica) on a hard driving, down and dirty, bluesy interpretation of "Willie Poor Boy." Lord, lord, this is what the blues are about. Van Meter and Norton are awesome.

Other highlights include Claire Lynch and John Reischman (mandolin) on a profoundly mournful "I Never Will Marry;" an inspired "My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains" with Kate Brislin (vocal), Jody Stecher (guitar), and Keith Little (banjo); the "Wreck of The Old Number 9" with Laurie Lewis, and "East Virginia Blues" with Lynn Morris and fiddle player Ron Stewart.

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