On their second album Our Lady of the Tall Trees the Seattle based bluegrass pairing of Cahalen Morrison (guitar, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, lap slide, vocals) and Eli West (guitar, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals) were more than impressive creating an album of contemporary bluegrass music that was much revered by their peers and the press, their latest album more than lives up to their growing reputation and finds the pair on top form creating another top quality album.
Produced by Grammy-winning artist Tim O’Brien the album was in the Colorado Rockies at the Swingfingers Recording Studio and features supporting players including Ryan Drickey and Brittany Haas on fiddle and Erin Youngberg on bass with Tim O’Brien adding his not inconsiderable talents on mandolin and bouzouki too, together they’ve created an album that’s subtlety more uplifting than it’s predecessor; American roots music that manages to deftly combine acoustic bluegrass and Appalachian folk with both authenticity and originality.
Down In The Lonesome Draw
Livin’ In America
With an upcoming tour planned for Ireland and the UK there’s a great chance to go and see these guys in their element kicking of in Essex at the end of April there’s a local date at The Walker Theatre (Theatre Severn) in Shrewsbury on May 3rd.
Wed Apr 30: The Garret Sessions at Queens Head, Fyfield, Essex
Thur May 1: The Green Note, London
Fri May 2: The Workhouse, Presteigne, Powys, Mid Wales
Sat May 3: The Walker Theatre (Theatre Severn), Shrewsbury
Sun May 4: The Cross Inn, Haverfordwest, Pembs
Tues May 6: Red Rooms, Cookstown
Wed May 7: Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, Co Donegal
Thur May 8: Whelan’s, Dublin
Fri May 9: Baltimore Fiddle Fair, Co Cork, Ireland
Sun May 11: Jumpin Hot Club, The Cluny, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Mon May 12: FREE
Tues May 13: House concert, Edinburgh
Wed May 14: House concert, Edinburgh
Thur May 15: Acoustic Music Club, Kirkcaldy
Fri May 16: Glenbuchat Village Hall, Aberdeenshire
Sat May 17: The CatStrand, New Galloway
Sun May 18: The Barrels Alehouse, Berwick-upon-Tweed
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Americana music is a broad church but those that are encompassed, endeared and drawn to it have it seems an extra responsibility to their musical ancestry, it’s a fine line between distorting the form into shapeless sound and extracting the essence of what has come before to create art that blurs the seams between the contemporary and traditional – paying homage to ones past and influences is both a noble and necessary act, Cahalen Morrison & Eli West combine their talents to deliver an album of crafted folk music.
Cahalen contributes eight original songs to album including an instrumental, there are three covers and an interpretation of a traditional track, I’ve heard many a cover of the late great Townes van Zandt’s music (search the site) but none finer than Cahalen & Eli’s version of Loretta thats slots perfectly into place on this collection.
Both musicians are masters of their instruments Cahalen (claw-hammer banjo, mandolin and lap-steel guitar) and Eli (claw-hammer banjo, guitar and bouzouki) and chose to track the album live, the album release was then fan-funded through Kickstarter. With musical detailing of the highest order, vocals that are pure and true whether solo or in harmony and top-drawer original writing it’s no surprise the creative quality control runs through to the excellent presentation and fine artwork that accompanies the CD – of its ilk there’s likely not a better album released this year.
Interview at No Depression