Q - 9/02, p.1223 stars out of 5
- "...This is a sterling guide to an American treasure."
Personnel includes: Norman Blake (vocals, guitar, slide guitar, fiddle); Nancy Blake (guitar, cello, bass, background vocals); Charlie Collins (guitar, fiddle); Tony Rice (guitar, background vocals); Doc Watson (guitar);
Ben Pedigo (banjo); Tut Taylor (dobro); James Bryan (fiddle); Nancy Short (cello).
Producers include: Norman Blake, Sam Bush, Tut Taylor, Tony Rice.
Compilation producers: Ken Irwin, Joel Stein.
Recorded between 1971 and 1990. Includes liner notes by Jon Weisberger.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
This is part of Rounder Records "Heritage" series.
Norman Blake will never be known as a revolutionary. His starkly honest guitar picking and gently lulling voice have sounded almost exactly the same for the 30-some years that the Rounder release Old Ties encompasses. Often performing solo, occasionally accompanied by his wife, Nancy, and any of a number of bluegrass and neo-traditional folk musicians (Tut Taylor, Charlie Collins, Doc Watson), Blake's summery, porch-swing ballads and blues are perfectly performed and humbly executed. Working with the traditional themes of old-timey folk music, Blake re-creates the earthy feel of a timeworn classic the first time a song emerges from his guitar, and his unpretentious, reverent style delivers the music in an intimate environment. The compilation sticks to his more traditional-sounding compositions and interpretations, making for a wonderful afternoon listen and the perfect introduction to Blake's uniquely faithful style. Although his musical offerings may never be seen as revolutionary, his unwillingness to change to a more contemporary mode of folk music may be a kind of revolution...if anyone wanted to argue about it. Luckily, with music this pure, no one does. ~ Zac Johnson