SI KAHN AND THE LOOPING BROTHERS
Strictly Country Records
Singer-songwriter Si Kahn’s musical collaboration with German bluegrass band the Looping Brothers is a part of a year-long celebration of Si’s 75th birthday. He sings lead on three cuts: “Government On Horseback,” “Going, Going, Gone,” and “Hard Times.” All 13 cuts are Kahn originals, never recorded before. In addition to Si, band members include Ulli Sieker, Matthias Malcher, and Ralf Strotmann.
Although known more widely in folk circles, Kahn is a diverse, extremely prolific songwriter whose songs have been recorded by several bluegrass artists. He’s a serious student of the genre, and both Kahn’s voice and his songs fit comfortably into the Looping Brothers bluegrass groove.
All cuts are strong. “Old Country Store” could be a new jam session standard for those from the Allen Mills camp of bluegrass singing. “Rats In A Maze” is a thought-provoking, disturbing song about the adverse effects of asbestos dust on shipyard workers in the 1940s-’50s. “Hitchhiking On Life’s Highway” is a bouncy number with good advice: When you hitchhike down life’s highway, don’t accept just any ride / You are heading for disaster when the devil steps inside. “Free” is probably the most sweetly romantic break-up song you’ve ever heard. The cleverly written “Hudson River New York Upstate Waltz,” a quick-paced love song chock-full of images and places from New York, includes the memorable rhyme: We met unexpectedly deep in Schenectady, falling in love at first sight.
The three cuts Si sings will inspire comparisons to the current political climate. The singer leads listeners to draw their own conclusions, employing a sense of humor as deep as his insightful observations. Then all seriousness aside, Kahn points out the comfortable, joy-filled things a man who is blessed to live a long life well has in common with his dear four-legged companion: Eat a good breakfast, sleep until three / Yawn and roll over, Rover and me…Thank you for hydrants, thank you for trees / Thank you for good friends like Rover and me.
Liner notes by Louisa Branscomb, cool album cover design, and complete lyrics are much appreciated. Si Kahn’s treasure trove of original songs and his unique perspective on love and life are a gift to everyone who has ears. Enjoy! (www.strictlycountryrecords.com)NCW