Uncle Earl: Waterloo, Tennesee


Led Zeppelin bassist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, John Paul Jones, has produced and provided instrumental accompaniment to the latest release by the all-female string band, Uncle Earl.  Authentic traditionals, covers (including Dylan’s rare “Wallflower”), and originals make up the album, with each song offering its own special meaning to the performers.  Listening to the music, one can easily hear how much fun the recording process was, as Jones’ liner notes colorfully reiterate.  With the lead vocals rotating amongst the g’Earls (as they call themselves), the highlighted flavors vary.  “D & P Blues” (i.e., “Drinking and Promiscuity Blues”) is but one of the album’s many high points, as its mood echoes a bunch of ladies gathered at a local brewery singing an old drinking song.  The folk-y “Buonaparte” appears with its unconventional vocal harmonies as a piece selected from the shape-note songbook, The Social Harp. 

Throughout the masterpiece of a record, a variety of instruments are featured, including the obvious fiddle (Kristin Andreassen, Rayna Gellert), banjo (Abigail Washburn), and mandolin (KC Groves), as well as Papoose and wobbleboard by Jones.  “The Last Goodbye” even delivers some drum work by Gillian Welch (an honorary “g’Earl”).  Finally, one of the most emotionally stirring pieces is Old Belle Reed’s “My Epitaph” – with its subtle progression and Washburn’s dripping vocals, it serves as a lasting memory of Waterloo.

For more info see:  http://www.uncleearl.net

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