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UNCLE CUCKLEBURR'S CHAMPION POSSUM CARVERS
The Ozark Sheiks... (May Apple)

When people asked me to define ‘roots' music, the result was usually a lengthy diatribe involving history, geography, ethnicity, and economics. Life just got a whole lot simpler: now I just play The Ozark Sheiks for them, a delightful 20-track compilation of bluegrass from Carvers Adam Posnak and Blaine Whisenhunt. Recorded “deep in the Ozark Mountains”, without the benefit of overdubbing and using only traditional (read non-electric) instruments, ranging from guitars, throat fiddle, and mandolin, to jugs, roosters, and everything in between. This is the real McCoy, (lousy pun; sorry guys). While five of the tracks are original compositions, I'd dare you to tell which ones they are without the benefit of the liner notes. Although they apologetically describe their CD as “pretty ragged”, therein lies its strength. It's bluegrass the way it was originally played and meant to be; it describes a way of life that was desolate and "pretty ragged" at times. You won't find any fancy polished vocals and harmonies here, just some mighty fine pickin', overlaid with raw and raspy vocals that put you on a rickety front porch in the back hills on a starry night… with a jug of shine, of course.
The Possum Carver's site. Order the CD and hear MP3 song samples from May Apple Records. Released May, 04, reviewed by Don Grant.

 

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