Tim Eriksen 

Every Sound Below

Folksinger Tim Eriksen cut his teeth with Cordelia's Dad, a Massachusetts folk-rock band that played only traditional American music and became as well known for Eriksen's amusing between-song digressions as for the Carter-Family-meets-Ramones style of its music. A folklorist and ethnomusicologist, Eriksen gained a bit of mainstream recognition in 2004 when the producers of Cold Mountain tapped him to contribute a couple of raw, traditional performances to the movie's soundtrack.

Every Sound Below, Eriksen's second solo album, is an extension of his Cold Mountain work, fourteen songs from the Civil War era presented in much the same way they might have been performed 150 years ago. The melody of "The Southern Girl's Reply" is better known as "The Girl I Left Behind Me," but is sung here as a tribute to the Confederate soldiers who sacrificed everything. Eriksen's fiddle and vocal reading are wrought with hopeless emotion. "Two Sisters" is an a cappella ballad about a jealous murder with a tune that's a variant of "Scarborough Fair." Clawhammer banjo and Tuvan throat singing make "John Colby's Hymn," a peculiar tale of a disturbed wandering preacher, sound even odder and eerier. The standard "Careless Love" gets reinvented with a gentle vocal and rolling acoustic guitar work that emphasizes the song's beautiful melody. He also gives us three originals: "The Stars Their Match," a brief a cappella lament; the mysterious "A Tiny Crown," with a whistling interlude and an enigmatic lyric; and the title track, a brooding, ghostly tale of lost love and loneliness. (Appleseed)

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