We’ve written before about the fascinating backstory to the next Zoe & Cloyd project for Organic Records, Songs of Our Grandfathers. Both of their grandfathers were accomplished musicians of some note, though in very different musical styles, and the album finds them paying homage to each in turn.
Zoe & Cloyd are married couple Natalya Zoe Weinstein and John Cloyd Miller, currently living in Asheville, NC, from whence they front their own bluegrass band. John’s grandfather was bluegrass fiddle phenom Jim Shumate, who recorded with Flatt & Scruggs in the early days, while Natalya’s was a klezmer fiddler from eastern Europe.
Organic has released two new singles from the album, one in each grandfather’s genre.
First up is John singing We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart, which Grandpa Jim cut with Lester & Earl in 1948. It’s a bluegrass classic, familiar to any serious fan.
Miller states the obvious in speaking of the original recording.
“That early lineup of the Foggy Mountain Boys — featuring Jim, Mac Wiseman, Cedric Rainwater and, of course, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs — was a force of nature, and set the standard for bluegrass moving forward. We were excited to revisit the energy and tastefulness of that iconic recording.”
Bandmates Bennett Sullivan on banjo and Kevin Kehrberg on bass provide perfect support in 1948 fashion, while Natalya adds fiddle inspired by Shumate, playing the very same instrument he used with Flatt & Scruggs.
Have a listen…
From the Weinstein side of the family, we get a lively rendition of another song from roughly the same period, a vaudeville number called Bei Mir Bistu Sheyn. Written by Sholom Secunda and Jacob Jacobs, Natalya sings in the original Yiddish.
American audiences may recall the hit version of this song, in English. The same Yiddish title was used, which means “To Me You Are Beautiful,” though the rest of the lyrics were translated.
Natalya shares a bit more about the song.
“The Andrews Sisters recorded the English version in 1937, and the song became a worldwide sensation. Not surprisingly, this song was in my grandfather’s repertoire as well, and I used to play it with my father on piano. For our recording, I even learned the Yiddish lyrics!”
Miller and Sullivan switch out on this one, with John on mandolin and Bennett on guitar.
It’s a dandy. Check it out.
Both We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart and Big Mir Bistu Sheyn by Zoe & Cloyd are available as singles now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers will find the tracks at AirPlay Direct.