It’s fitting that my first assignment as a CD reviewer for What’s Up Yukon is by the Done Gone Stringband. It is called Joy and is a fresh, upbeat mix of bluegrass, roots and old-time music.
The first thing I noticed about this CD is that the case is environmentally friendly. The CD sits in a beautifully designed cardboard envelope – no plastic. The artwork is from an original piece by a French artist, Kamil Vojnar. A young girl dancing in a field captures the title of the CD, Joy.
I have to say, bluegrass and roots music is not my fave, but I was pleasantly surprised at the musicianship, energy and harmony in this CD. It stirs the blood and cures what ails you.
This CD is a family affair and I know what that is like. Watching that next generation of family artists/entertainers step onto the stage marks the passage of time.
Sharing the love of your art form with your children, in performance and in life in general, is a “parental feel-good”.
Bob Hamilton (The Bob) and his two children, Sarah and Patrick, carry on a family tradition. Sarah is on vocals and fiddle; Patrick is on banjo and Bob is on mandolin and vocals.
Anne Louise Genest adds her rhythm guitar and passionate vocals to the music with special guests: Nadine Landry on bass, Raymond Mclain on fiddle and Mike Stephens on harmonica.
Two songs that stand out for me on this CD are Sleepy Eyed John (for the amazing speed with which it is executed) and Sunday Boys (for the beautiful a cappella harmonies). My favourite piece of Joy, however, is Sinner’s Waltz. I’m a sucker for beautiful waltzes.
The second half of the CD was recorded at the Dawson City Music Festival and certainly brings back memories for me of festivals past. You know what I mean: the big tent fills with dust and sweat as people jump and stomp to the beat of the fiddles and banjo.
The vocals have that whiney-but-cheerful quality that is bluegrass style. Done Gone Stringband performed this past July at the California World Festival and will be performing Sept. 27 at YukonFest in Vancouver.
This is a co-presentation with the Rogue Folk Club. Done Gone Stringband will be performing on the acoustic night at St. James Hall.
If you are a bluegrass fan, and even if you’re not, you will thoroughly enjoy this CD. I recommend playing it on your car stereo during your next fall road trip.
CAUTION: Listening to Done Gone Stringband while driving may cause a dangerous toe-tapping on the gas pedal.