DANIEL KOULACK & KARRNNEL SAWITSKY
Daniel Koulack is a clawhammer banjo player from Winnipeg, and Karrnnel Sawitsky is a fiddler from Saskatoon. Although they open with Pete Seeger’s “Goofing Off Theme,” they play mostly traditional tunes, but in very modern styles.
Joey Landreth sings and plays resonator guitar on “Little Birdie”/“Half Shaved,” “Groundhog,” “Red Rocking Chair,” Skip James’ “Killin’ Floor,” and Blind Alfred Reed’s “How Does A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live.” Amy Matsylo sings harmony on two of those. There are some original numbers: Koulack’s “Lullaby,” Sawitsky’s “Waltz Of Life,” “Rubin” by both of them with Sandy Chochinov, and “Spinning Wheel” by Koulack. The complete tune list is a bit hard to read since it’s presented in three concentric circles, but there are a few medleys here, such as “The Woodchuck Set” that includes Ed Haley’s “Indian Ate The Woodchuck,” “Old Reel Of 8,” and “The Arkansas Traveler.” “The Old French Set” includes “Old French,” “Red River Jig (Whiskey Before Breakfast),” and “French Red River Jig” on which Christian Dugas’ dancing feet can be heard. “Red Rocking Chair” is actually a medley of that tune followed by “Chinquipin Pie.”
Landreth’s singing is reminiscent of John Cowan’s voice in Newgrass Revival, but perhaps not as rock-influenced. Koulack and Sawitsky both feature crisp and clear playing, but it’s in their own Northern styles whether they are playing originals, Canadian tunes, or southeastern American old-time. That clash of style and material will delight some listeners and may grate on others. (www.fiddlebanjo.ca)SAG