‘Outshine the Sun’ from The Foghorn Stringband(September 22, 2012)
The Foghorn Stringband play old-time American string-band music - and they play it with all the passion, warmth, bite and fire of an illicit spirit. And I’m here to tell you that their latest album ‘Outshine the Sun’ is as close as you’ll get to treading the boards of genuine, smooth-distilled, double-rectified American roots music. If Portland, Oregon had any idea what was escaping into the wider world it would have chained the band down and kept its treasure at home.
Thankfully, the band cut loose and the result is here for folk across the USA and those of us on this side of the pond to enjoy. Their particular brand of old-time, hand-picked tunes and songs is a scintillating mélange of acoustic Americana that pulls country, honky-tonk and Louisiana Cajun into the blend. From the ripping, finger-flashing dexterity of tunes like ‘Humpback Mule’, ‘Salty River Reel’ and ‘Whoa Mule’ through the vocal helter-skelter of ‘Be kind To A Man While He’s Down’ and ‘Gospel Ship’ to the relaxed, familiar easiness of ‘Homestead On The Farm’, ’Jones’ Waltz’ and ‘Over the Garden Wall’ - you will surely want to sample the brew.
The current line up for The Foghorn Stringband is Caleb Klauder (mandolin, fiddle, guitar, vocals) with his finely-honed vocals and ‘machine gun’ mandolin, master-fiddler Stephen Lind (fiddle, banjo, guitar, vocals) Nadine Landry from Québec (bass, guitar, vocals) and Rebecca Willms (guitar, vocals).
Playing old-time in the old ways ‘Outshine the Sun’ was recorded with the band gathered around a single microphone (sat next to the woodstove in Caleb’s home). And no doubt about it ‘Outshine the Sun’ sounds as wonderfully live as a bag full of wildcats, you would have to make a long trek to find anything more authentic.
Reviewer: Tom Franks