Alberta duo Godfrey & Tod's self-titled album is a real old-time treat. Featuring ethnomusicologist and folk DJ Mike Tod on guitar and vocals, and Nathan M. Godfrey on everything else (resonator guitar, banjo, banjolin, mandolin, vocals), the pared-down duets sound like they're either wafting off of a front porch or coming out of an old Victrola.
From instrumental versions of old chestnuts like "Grandfather's Clock" and "Jackson Stomp" to the expertly sung "Blue Ridge Mountain Blues" and "Beautiful Brown Eyes," Godfrey & Tod offer up a sampler of North American folk music that reveals a deep knowledge of, and respect for, the material. With "Blood on the Saddle," we get an authentic cowboy song, lonesome and tragic, with not a rhinestone in sight, and "Old Reuben" seems to cover every one of the many verses that versions of this song (also known as "Reuben's Train") have included over the years.
But what really stands out on this recording is the Alberta-specific repertoire. "Wildrose Melody," "My Alberta Rose" by the Romaniuk Family, and Wilf Carter's "The Plains of Alberta," are lovely homages to the province Godfrey & Tod call home. An old-time duo album in all its unvarnished glory, Godfrey & Tod ought to be required listening for Albertans, and comes highly recommended for the rest of us. (Independent)