Clothesline Revival -Ramblin’ Man

By • Aug 23rd, 2006 • Category: Acoustic, Country, Folk, Mashup, Music, World

Artist: Clothesline Revival
Website: www.paleomusic.com/clothesline_page.htm
Track Name: Ramblin’ Man
Playback: mp3/flash
Download?: Yes

Clothelines Cover

I don’t know what to do with this band (it seems I am still stuck in Americana mode). Arranger and musician Conrad Praetzel calls his label Paleo Music, which is big hint I supect and if you check out his work, which includes titles like Between Past and Present and Myths and Memories and Of My Native Land the album I am investigating at the moment, I think we can see a pattern forming here. Praetzel, it seems, is a former archeologist, is obsessed with music’s past and its relationship to cultural identity. But rather than simply lovingly recreate the sounds that fascinate him as some musical nostalgists elect to do, he takes traditional music and reinvents it in a new context. I suspect he is making an ironic point about the way our choices are diminishing instead of expanding in the 21st Century.

Here is the hype from the website…

Neo-traditionalists Conrad Praetzel and Robert Powell stake out their claim in the Americana landscape with an eclectic mix of ambient folk and acid/alt country. Clothesline Revival blends electronic and acoustic beats with dobro, mandolin, guitars, lap and pedal steel guitar, ebow, atmospherics and more to create a captivating new sound with an old-time haunting quality.

Included are adaptations of historical field recordings (several recorded by the legendary American musicologist John A. Lomax) including performances by Leadbelly, Ora Dell Graham, and an unidentified old train caller. Vocalists Wendy Allen and Tom Armstrong lend their talents to songs by Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Onie Wheeler, Anne Briggs as well as to traditional American folk songs. Wendy Allen, from North Carolina, is a mesmerizing singer and interpreter of American roots music, while Tom Armstrong’s vocals recall classic honky- tonk and country crooners of the fifties like Wynn Stewart and Letfy Frizzel.

I don’t think that what they are doing is all that different from the things that Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span did to traditional music in the late 60’s and early 70’s. They took songs from a different era and made them relevant to the audience of the time. Conrad is doing the the same thing with his use of definitively American sounds, mixing eclectic traditional instrumentation with tasteful atmospherics and electronic beats to create a style he’s termed “acid country” or “ambient folk” (how about folk mashup) whatever you call it I find it incredibly interesting to listen to.

Have a listen to some vocals from a 1940 field recording of Ora Dell Graham Pullin’ the Skiff while you think about all this stuff.

is fascinated by guitars, music, guitars, production, silly noises, guitars and used to be a musician. Did I mention the thing about the guitars?
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