Maggie Walker video from Tom Carter & Tom Sauber

Today, Tiki Parlour Recordings is releasing a double album set that will be in the running as the old time project of the year. It is certainly one of great interest to that community, containing both archival and newly recorded music with legendary performers.

Titled Trade Your Headache For A Smile, by Tom Carter and Tom Sauber, it also features contributions from the late Blanton Owen, Leonard Coulson, and Patrick Sauber. One of the discs is taken from live recordings in 1998 just prior to Owen’s fatal place crash, and the other a studio effort by Tom, Tom, and Patrick from 2018.

Sauber and Carter have both established themselves as players, archivists, and folklorists, and as teachers of the traditions of old time, Appalachian-style fiddle and banjo. Patrick Sauber, Tom’s son, is well on the way to his own fine music career performing and recording with top artists like Laurie Lewis, Tim O’Brien, and Peter Rowan.

The 20 year span between these two sessions shows both how old time music has changed, and more importantly, how it has stayed the same.

Old time music icon, Alice Gerrard, shared her thoughts about this time capsule release.

“Masterful musicians and lots of great old-time music with some twists. You’ve got your banjo (various of them), you’ve got your fiddle, and then you’ve got your mandolin. Plus, then you’ve got mandola, mando-cello, drum, and a pitched fork!!! Plus singing. How fine to hear Blanton Owen’s beautiful banjo playing again—we lost him too soon. These recordings were made over time and distance and sound as old as the hills, even the new songs like Dylan’s Well, Well, Well, and Bruce Cockburn’s Kit Carson. You can feel the love in every note.”

We are pleased to share a video today of one of the tracks, Maggie Walker, recently recorded by Tom, Tom, and Patrick. They say in the album’s voluminous booklet that they learned this version from Blanton Owen, but have modified the melody slightly in their arrangement.

The aforementioned booklet that is packaged with Trade Your Headache For A Smile includes liner notes from Tom Carter, plus 13 vintage photos taken by Blanton Owen in its 24 oversized pages. These images were captured between 1969 and 1972, and feature candid photos of important musical figures like Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, and Oscar Wright. The project is delivered in a DVD case, allowing for the larger booklet.

Tiki Parlour Recordings also produced this short trailer video to share the concept for the album.

Trade Your Headache For A Smile is available now wherever you stream or download music online. The two CD set can be ordered directly from the label online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.