JIMMY GAUDREAU & MOONDI KLEIN, IF I HAD A BOAT
If you’ve ever wondered what the old brother duos would sound like were they performing today, the new recording from Gaudreau and Klein (their third together) might provide a hint. There would be, of course, music that reflects more recent stylistic developments. Folk, jazz, rock, and pop would all be included. Along with nods to tradition, new songwriters would be used as material sources. Bob Dylan might be one such source and perhaps James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, or Gordon Lightfoot. More modern performance styles would define the instrumental support.
All of that turns up on this recording. Gaudreau and Klein open in a propulsive rush by covering Merle Haggard’s hit, “I’m Always On A Mountain When I Fall.” Gaudreau uses an octave mandolin to give it a nice twangy, low-range sound, and there is some nice interplay with Klein’s rhythm. From Bob Dylan they get “One More Night.” From Taylor, “Bartender’s Blues.” From Lightfoot, “Did She Mention My Name” and from Lovett, the title song. All of them and several others, including a florid, updated rendering of “Bury Me Beneath The Willow,” have a strong folk era color. The vocals are smooth and ornamented, more reminiscent of Peter and Paul without Mary. Tempos are largely in the medium range, particularly tracks four through seven.
The most interesting and most contrasting run of songs is found on tracks nine to twelve. There, we get an elegant Gaudreau waltz with multiple mandolins and piano from Klein’s father, Howard. That’s followed by a swinging ’20s sounding cover of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Treasures Untold,” then by another Gaudreau instrumental, this one called “Grassnost,” which as its title suggests has a Russian flavor. Jens Kruger adds banjo for that track. The album ends on the most traditional-sounding piece, “Where The Soul Of Man Nevers Dies,” bringing us back to the brother duet sound. Well played. Well sung. Just what you’d expect from Gaudreau and Klein. (Rebel Records, P.O. Box 7405, Charlottesville, VA 22906, www.rebelrecords.com.)BW