No Depression - 5-6/00, pp.111-2
"...Rugged, bent on asserting the individuality of his American voice...Blake has never made a more poignant or arresting record."
Solo performer: Norman Blake (vocals, guitar, 6-string banjo, dobro, mandolin).
Recorded from June 26-28, 1998.
FAR AWAY, DOWN ON A GEORGIA FARM was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.
Personnel: Norman Blake (vocals, guitar, dobro, mandolin).
If there's any string-bending instrumentalist who has his finger on the pulse of rural American music, it's Norman Blake. Having mastered guitar, mandolin, and dobro, it's not surprising that Blake has quietly cobbled together an impressive solo career, in addition to carving out a niche for himself as a valued sideman for an impressive array of names including Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash. For his 28th album, the Chattanooga native goes the solo route in a captivating mix of original compositions and traditional numbers.
Blake does a fine job of mixing his moods, whether he's delving into his traditional dance bag for sprightly numbers like "Headlight Reel" and "Rag Baby Jig," or more bittersweet material like "Just Another Faded Love Song" and "The Winds of Time Won't Change." Complementing this musical veteran's fluid and dexterous instrumental delivery is a warm and slightly twangy singing style that works to perfection on the Delmore Brothers' "Goin' Back to the Blue Ridge Mountains," and Blake's own nostalgic title track. FAR AWAY is a fulfilling slice of American music that warms the innards like a hot piece of apple pie.