Klein is a mandolin picker from Canada. Fellow Canadian Andrew Collins produced this recording and appears on the title-cut under its original name “Sobre Las Olas.” Paul Gitlitz plays fiddle, Ryan Shotton guitar, Jille Shotton is on banjo and does some flatfooting, and Nicola Tabb plays bass. The program includes old-time, contra dance, and a bluegrass tune.
There is a quiet sensibility in Klein’s playing that is understated, but still generates excitement. “Lonesome Moonlight Waltz” gets a solid reading. Most of the tunes are in sets or medleys resulting in 16 tunes in 11 tracks. The band has a distinctive old-time sound to it with interesting arrangements that pep up some of the more common tunes.
Klein’s arrangement of Jim Childress’ “The Road To Malvern” starts with solo mandolin intro with extended chords on the guitar and just a whisper of fiddle. The fiddle plays potatoes and the band jumps in and romps along. Jille Shotton’s banjo expertly catches the melody here. Paul Gitlitz has two original tunes here, his contra favorite “Flying Home To Shelley” that displays a nice intro with just mandolin and fiddle. His other tune, “Not So Badlands,” is a sturdy dance tune. “John’s Waltz,” a Klein original, opens with the clawhammer banjo playing in three-quarter time. Not at all impossible, but somewhat problematic given the nature of the basic right stroke on that instrument.
This instrumental set won’t set the woods on fire, but it’s well-crafted and performed with modern old-time music that says what it means to say while stretching the genre ever so slightly. On the last cut with just two mandolins, it demonstrates this unflinchingly. (www.michaelklein.ca)RCB