Dirty Linen - 12/99-1/00, p.63
"...As a flatpicker, composer, and interpreter of old tunes, Blake's reputation is justifiably stellar....A highlight is Blake and Rich O'Brien's mix of voices when they sing harmony..."
Personnel: Norman Blake (vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, violin, viola); Rich O'Brien (vocals, acoustic guitar, gut-string guitar); Don Edwards (acoustic guitar).
Bringing together the musical traditions of the Appalachian Mountains and Texas, Norman Blake and Rich O'Brien convened in Denver, CO, in July of 1998 to collaborate on a beautiful recreation of traditional instrumentals and early country forms. A very loose and impromptu feel pervades the 16 tracks, as Blake provides guitar, six-string banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and viola, with O'Brien adding guitar on both combining for classic country harmonies on tracks like "When It's Lamplighting Time in the Valley," A.P. Carter's "Homestead on the Farm," and the spiritual "Heavenly Sunlight." As is to be expected, the instrumentals are outstanding, incorporating rags, waltzes, and even Spanish elements. O'Brien's own "Grandpa's Barn" is guaranteed to be a tearjerker for anyone with rural roots. ~ Matt Fink