Versatile old-time musician Matt Brown has a new CD due for release March 18 from 5-String Productions. My Native Home features Brown on fiddle, banjo, guitar and vocals, assisted by Tim O’Brien on guitar and harmony vocals, Brittany Haas on fiddle, Ben Krakauer on banjo, and March Schatz on bass.
Brown is a talented instrumentalist who sings with a plaintive voice that is thoroughly convincing on the sort of traditional ballads he offers here. Most of the arrangements are sparse, with four songs presented unaccompanied.
The tunes are my favorite parts of the CD, again presented without much adornment. Matt recorded Folding Down The Sheets and Sandy River Belle as solo banjo tracks, and Happy Hollow by himself on fiddle. A standout to me is the duet he does with Haas, which Brown says was a blast for him to record.
“The Carroll County Blues is a duet with me on 4 string violin and Brittany on 5 string. So… 2 people, 9 strings, lots of fun.”
Carrol County Blues: [http://media.libsyn.com/media/thegrasscast/carroll_county.mp3]
Another especially strong cut is Taylor Girls, a fiddle tune of Matt’s. I have always been partial to the sound of 3-finger banjo in old time music, and this tune is a perfect vehicle.
“I wrote this tune at the Philadelphia Folk Festival a number of years ago. I was playing a square dance there, and my friend Bob Taylor was playing bass. At one point between dances, his daughters, Lindsay and Laura, walked in. They are beautiful young women and dear friends, and the sight of them inspired this tune, which unfurled itself in minutes. We played it for the very next dance.”
Taylor Girls: [http://media.libsyn.com/media/thegrasscast/taylor_girls.mp3]
Samples from all 17 tracks can be heard at Brown’s web site. Though the CD isn’t officially out for a few more weeks, copies are available now for immediate delivery.