‘Oldies and Old Time’ from Ivan Rosenberg mixes just the right the ingredients(July 07, 2013)
Ivan Rosenberg holds an honoured place among the legions of bluegrass, folk, and old time Dobro and banjo players. His touch and empathy with traditional American music is enviable whether he’s working with timeless classics or Rosenberg originals – and that’s what you get with his album ‘Oldies and Old Time’ – original tunes and traditional folk folded together in a seamless synchronous collection that warms your soul. It’s noticeable when you hear understated banjo playing, it lifts the instrument away from the ‘thrashing’ it’s so often given add to that skill Rosenberg’s talent for soothing life through a resonator guitar and ‘Oldies and Old Time’ is a classic in the making.
Opening with an original tune ‘Abject Woodchuck’ is a classic demonstration of clawhammer banjo ‘as it should be played’ and then your sliding into ‘Don’t Pity Me’ delivered with a relaxed vocal. The depth of tradition is presented through cleverly arranged versions of sadness-filled narratives such as ‘Willow Tree’, ‘Waves on the Sea’, and the mournful ‘Roving on a Winter’s Night’. Original Rosenberg tunes are represented by such ‘wonders-for-your-ears’ as the intriguing ’Sloth up a Gum Stump’, ‘Georgia on My Mind’ played on a lone Dobro with so much soul you can almost feel it, and of course the delightful ‘Maryville Waltz’.
Albums that mix old and new like ‘Oldies and Old Time’ are often described as blurring boundaries, not this one. With this recording Rosenberg has mixed just the right the ingredients to make a great recipe, and with his skill he’s cooked up a fine dish where everything comes together without any obscurity.
Reviewer: Tom Franks