Uncle Earl Waterloo, Tennessee

Uncle Earl Waterloo, Tennessee
Discounting Uncle Earl as an all-female bluegrass novelty act would be a serious mistake and grossly inaccurate. These women are dead serious players with deep-dish credentials. Their third release documents old time-y bluegrass music with an authenticity and haunting exactness that prove inspirational, successfully rekindling thoughts of a much simpler era. At the same time, they imbue tradition with unbridled zest, converting the least fiddle’n’banjo-friendly listener into a fan. This blend of traditional and modern is what’s most exciting about Uncle Earl and the dusty but largely untapped rural music they champion. As eclectic an amalgamation as the roots-rich country music they represent, Uncle Earl pool fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar together with acoustic bass, coupled with an uncanny ability to trade off lead vocals, embellishing each song with delicate harmonies and a reverent spirituality spiced with the most irreverent sensuality and unchecked enthusiasm. There’s even the odd clog dance for good measure. Sixteen tracks produced by no less than Zep’s John Paul Jones combine trad/public domain with artfully crafted originals. From the wild stomp of the fiddle-driven "Wish I Had My Time Again” to gentler fare like "My Little Carpenter” and sturdy originals like "One True,” Uncle Earl’s four key musicians prove to be true spirits determined to apply a wealth of timeless music like a salve on a world sorely in need of a worthy diversion. God bless ’em, they might just pull it off. (Rounder)