Ms. Staninec is a double-threat here as she sings and plays some mighty fine fiddle on a program of music ranging from bluegrass to Cajun with a Celtic number thrown in for good measure. Her singing is strong and honest, her fiddling is masterful.
Surrounded by an all-star cast of West Coast roots musicians, she sings and plays her way through a baker’s dozen of fine old songs and tunes, treating each one with respect and bringing the powerful essence of each piece to the fore. Her reworking of an old Sacred Harp number results in a driving opening cut, “Long Time Travelin’.” She dives into Jim & Jesse’s “Just Wondering Why” singing harmony here to Peter Rowan’s fine lead. The likes of John Reischman help out on mandolin, and the opening track is blessed with Chris Coole’s fine banjo playing. Staninec takes “Steely Rag” through a sleazy romp, exploring the essence of the tune to our good fortune.
There are two fine Cajun numbers here played with the kind of authority that conjures up the taste of great gumbo and hot, sticky air. Accompanied by Michael Connolly’s uilleann pipes, Staninec digs deep vocally, singing the ballad “Shallow Brown” with great command. The list of guest artists is long. Besides the aforementioned and also includes Caleb Klauder, Paul Shelasky, Kathy Kallick, Andrew Carriere, and Patrick Sauber, to name but a few. This is a masterful album by a young artist that will attract more attention as she continues to grow on her path. If you love fine fiddling and great music, don’t miss this fine project. (www.anniestaninec.com)RCB