I have been working on this little writing project for months with fits and starts...Today, I finished it..So here it is, the complete, track by track review of the The Folk Legacy Trio's newest CD, "Homecoming" with the awesome talents of George Grove, Jerry Siggins and Rick Dougherty.
One of life's greatest gifts to me is music. I love all kinds but mostly acoustic music.
My musical world has shifted a bit in the last four years or so but the rewards of that shift have been priceless.
One of those priceless gifts is the newest CD from the "hottest band in the land", The Folk Legacy Trio.
The Trio fresh off a whirlwind tour of the Great Midwest, released this CD. They have made their mark on folk classics from the past and present. This CD features songs from what they call "The Great American Songbook".
I would like to give you all a track by track take on this CD. Before I do, I want to firmly establish that is review is subjective to my worldview and taste. So, with that said Here we go:
1, Power and The Glory--This Phil Ochs tune makes a return appearance on an FLT effort. Their first album "Standing on the Shoulders" featured this track as well. This song is a great anthem for all time written decades ago but still relevant today. It carries a message of unity and forging ahead through difficult times but only if we all join together. In our divided world, it is a message we need. The FLT's version here does not hold back on the Power. Their voices blend with a smooth grace. Their instruments crackle with the precision of professionalism. Their Glory is on their highest harmonies and the chemistry they bring to this track. A great way to start off.
2. The World I Use to Know--I will admit my heart is used to the Kingston Trio's version of this Rod Mccuen version. Bob Shane's voice still echoes in my head on this one but the FLT's arrangement is stellar and Rick, George and Jerry still get a chance to shine on their own verses. As I get get older, the song's longing for what was and lamenting what is feels relevant. George's guitar melody carries the song and as per their method, the harmonies of the Trio make this wistful tune shine.
3. Last Thing on My Mind- A Tom Paxton classic that every one who loved folk music should know. I've heard versions from a lot of artists over the years, including The Kingston Trio, The Kruger Brothers and a rare one by John Denver. Jerry is tasked with following in those footsteps while carrying the lead with a soft touch. Jerry's voice carries a tenderness that's needed to convey the sorrow of lyrics of regret. George and Rick do a masterful job of backing Jerry's lead and deliver a warm and tender performance.
4. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine--This is a folk standard written by members of the Weavers as borrowed by Leadbelly. A song that would gain fame after Jimmie Rodgers recorded it. Rick takes the lead on this and delivers a fantastic version. Full of warmth, love and introspection, it is a tale of a man looking over his life of how his life was blessed in more ways than he counted by those Kisses. The instrumentation is stellar and the harmonies of Jerry and Rick are phenomenal.
5.Early in the Morning-- This has become one of my favorites. A song written by Noel Paul Stookey for Peter, Paul and Mary's debut album, it has a strong gospel flair. I've often noticed that folk musicians paved the way for the modern worship trend by making gospel songs radio friendly and have crossover potential. This is no exception. The fervor and harmonies that Rick, Jerry and George bring is beyond compare. The guitars are spot on and the song reaches an all too soon conclusion for me.
6. 40 Year Old Waltz--A great, fun song that was originally done by The Limeliters. All three men take a turn at the hilarious verses that cover the male angst of getting older. With quick tempo changes and each man offering a different perspective, the song is layered and entertaining. It also has the benefit of having a touch of realism to anyone over 40 and if even if you're not, you'll get it one day. Great guitar accents by George on this one throughout.
7. Don't Think Twice--I will admit being from Duluth, I'm partial to this song as it was written by Bob Dylan. So, I love this song. The guitar intro by George is just spectacular. The FLT version closely follows the well known Peter, Paul and Mary version but with one difference. Rick adds some fantastic harmonies to Jerry's beautiful vocal. Jerry's voice carries a lovely sadness to it whereas other versions embrace the apathy of some of the lyrics. Overall, another knockout performance.
8. I Will- I admit, I am a huge fan of the Beatles. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't know who the Kingston Trio was and if I didn't know the KT, I never would have met George Grove. So it's perfect that the FLT includes this song. The song written by Paul McCartney for the Beatles album "The White Album" is a quiet, short number. Some acoustic artists have taken to covering it including Alison Krauss. The FLT version seems to be a cover of that version. George's banjo intro is just the perfect set up for the whispered perfection of Jerry's lead vocal. Rick's guitar playing is also nice but then the whipped cream on this amazing musical sundae is the harmonies that Rick and George provide on the chorus. The song is just plain gorgeous.
9. The Mermaid---A lighthearted ditty written by Shel Silverstein. A sea shanty love song. Jery's jaunty vocals carry the songs through the lyrics. Rick and George's guitar and harmonies augment the song's arrangment.
10.Teach Your Children--A great Crosby, Stills and Nash song. First time I heard it was in a political ad in the early 80's but the song has become a great anthem of the importance of parental relations to kids. The arrangement is specatular. The guys navigate their verses and the rhythm of the second verse in amazing fashion. George does a great job of reproducing the opening notes on the guitar without the help of the steel one in the original. Fantastic production throughout.
11.Homeward Bound---Simon and Garfunkel's evocative ode to life on the road as a musician. This time Rick and George take the harmonies and the results are beyond compare. The original by S&G is quite good and the gold standard but the FLT version adds a freshness in the presentation and harmonies that make it seem new. The light touch of Jerry's vocal on the chorus is the right touch as this gives Rick and George their moment to shine. A stellar version.
12.Circle--This song written by the late Harry Chapin has been around for years. I heard it on an old Kingston Trio special in the 1980's. It has closed out the Americana Camp in Scottsdale ,AZ a few times as well. George Grove takes the lead on this and gives a stellar upper range performance. Rick, enters, imploring the audience to sing along and then Jerry get's a verse. The song's a great concert closer. It takes the audience on a reflective journey through their lives and the meanings behind all the friends and lovers they know as being important to them at any given time. A great way to wrap up this CD...
-------BUT WAIT!!!!!!!!! THERE"S MORE!!!!!!!!!!------------
The last three songs were personally selected by each member of the Folk Legacy Trio to show off their vocals and intstrumental chops...They were chosen also to show a reflection of who they are and each song is a fascnating peek into the men that make up the hottest band in the land.
13. In Green Donegal---Jerry Siggins gets to show us the flair he has for love songs. A lilting love song with a beautiful performance underscored by a nice piano track. Beautiful arrangement with a beautiful vocal.
14. The Night When I First Danced With You---Rick Dougherty wrote this great dance tune. A slow waltz with Rick tender vocals carry the listener on the journey to first love. The fiddle softly accentuates the atmosphere.
15.Pandanus---George Grove shines on this Hawaiian song. His guitar playing is exquisite as it was originally a song done on uke and slack key. No lyrics for this intrumental but the latin flair and excellent guitar playing carry the listener off to a tropical paradise.
Overall, I would recommend this CD to anyone who has seen The Folk Legacy Trio in concert and to anyone who hasn't seen these amazing musicians. It's a great addition to any folk music lover's catalogue.
I must say that no CD can replace a live soncert with The Folk Legacy Trio. Their love for the material, the audience and each other comes through better than any CD. So, go to folklegacytrio.com and see if they are playing near you. If not, start calling the venues in your area to get them booked. You will not regret it.
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