MATT DOWNER & CLARK WILLIAMS
Old Time Travelers
Are You From Dixie - Camptown Races - Man Of Constant Sorrow - In The Pines - Shady Grove - Take Me Back - Blackest Crow - Red Hot Breakdown - Miss The Mississippi - Dixie
Matt and Clark are probably long-time old-time friends doing old-time music. I very rarely say negative things about any recording, but there is one on this project. The fiddle is sometimes 'off' on the key, and pretty squeaky at times. However when it's played well, it's played in a very authentic good old-time style, which is what this CD is all about anyway. It's like a couple of guys sitting on the back porch somewhere in East Tennessee, just a bringin' that old music alive and fun. Matt plays fiddle, banjo, guitar and vocalizes. Clark plays guitar, fiddle, and also vocalizes. They take turns playing the instruments. Recorded on one microphone at the Honest Pine Bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I'm very surprised they caught all the nuances of the songs they were doing so incredibly well. The audience is of course a 'bar' audience, but they show respect while these guys are playing, and they also respond with authentic applause for each and every song. According to the Chattanooga Market News, where they obviously play at times, "Matt & Clark deliver the souped up and blues soaked styles of the wild string bands that ruled the southeast in the 20's." I was fascinated where these two guys are coming from, it's incredibly authentic, and very very real. Where the Carter Family was slick and smooth, the Old Time Travelers are very rustic in how they play these old songs. I would have to say, it's the music from the back porch of any mountain cabin in those old days, exactly as it would have been. This is what I find so very interesting about what these two boys are doing with music. This is their third CD, so they've already found a fan base in Tennessee, where they continue to invite the listener to take a trip back in time to the 'good ole days' of string band music. Closest I can find to them would probably be Uncle Dave Macon, who didn't really give a damn about how he played so long as he had fun, and so did the audience. That's kind of what's happening here. Everybody is having fun with old-time music. My favorite song on this one "Miss The Mississippi" is right on line with the Jimmie Rodgers sound, yodel and all. "Right-on old chaps," Ralph Peer may have said, this CD goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their introspection. You can catch these guys performing at the Great Southern Old-Time Fiddler's Convention in Chattanooga on March 14.
REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine