SASQUATCH WITH AN ALIEN ON ITS HEAD
Here is another talented young picker making his recording debut on Tom Mindte’s Patuxent Music. His name is Andrew Vogts. He’s 15, plays fiddle, and is already something of a music veteran, having won competitions at Galax and Clifftop and also performed with the Beach Boys. As that disparity between the ultra old-time of Galax and the rock’n’roll of the Beach Boys indicates, Vogts has wide horizons and, as this recording shows, the talent to match. His ideas and variations are quite advanced, his confidence in execution is impressive, and he already has a distinct fiddling style.
This recording, as bassist Mark Schatz writes in his liner notes, focuses on the traditional end. Largely that means old-time, be it a standard such as “Durang’s Hornpipe” or lesser-known public domain tunes such as “Boxing Reel,” “The Pig And The Devil’s Eye,” and “Bumblebee In A Jug.” Also here is a funky reading of Amy Cann and Natalie McMasters’ Cape Breton-style “Catharsis” and an equally funky low-string banjo and fiddle cover of Nate Leath’s “Rosin On The Gourd,” which along with “Durang’s Hornpipe” are the most intriguing tracks included.
The album includes banjoist Victor Furtado, guitarist Danny Knicely, bassist Schatz, fiddler Aila Waldman, and mandolinist Eli Waldman. Four tracks are fiddle and banjo duets. All praise aside, this would have been a better recording had the sound been better. The backing is often muddy, and the soloing instruments sound distant and range from thin (the banjo and guitar) to somewhat scraping and whiney (Vogts’ fiddle). But for a talent of this level, it’s still a promising debut. (Patuxent Music, P.O. Box 572, Rockville MD 20848, www.pxrec.com.)BW
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