Country Music News International CD Review
The Sounds of a Tradition
Yonder Stands Little Maggie - Cripple Creek - I Know What It Means To Be Lonesome - Reuben - Sally Ann - Head Over Heels - John Henry - When The Angels Carry Me Home - Rambling Gambler - Sally Goodin - Johnson Ridge Special
Wow, what a waker-upper for some incredible gifted and well-played traditional bluegrass music. Many of my own friends know how close I was to Jimmy Martin, and to hear this young brother-sister bringing their incredible vigor and West Virginia strength back to bluegrass music is absolutely stunning, to say the least. Marteka is the sister, she's one hot 5-string banjo player. William, the brother, is on the guitar and he's one hot picker and praise the Lord, a singer of mountain music the way it should be sung. This delightful and incredibly talented duo will find barriers getting their music played on radio. Why? Because they are 'real' the very 'realist' you can get, especially in bluegrass music. There are already bluegrass 'snobs' in our midst, meaning the music has to be one specific style, smoother louder and faster. No room for traditional nasal singers permitted. That negative will probably not stand up to this wonderful brother-sister act from West Virginia. Joining this amazing duo are two other incredibly gifted musicians, Corrina Rose Logston Stephens on one hot fiddle, and Bruce Jones for some simply amazing hot Dobro playing. Charley Lake is on the acoustic upright bass. If you will look at the names of the songs this incredibly good young group is playing, you will see the very epitome of where bluegrass music is and where it came from. It's early in the year but this CD goes directly to the Rural Roots Music Commission with my high recommendation for "Traditional Bluegrass CD of the Year" award. I'm also going to our own Board to see if our "Rising Legends" can get some notice, respect, and honor for this group. This entire CD is traditional bluegrass, the very best of the genre when it was still young and still just for the 'folks' back home. This young West Virginia group is certainly keeping that particular torch alive, and I certainly wish them the very best in their efforts at not only sharing their music, but also for their efforts in keeping the music in the genre it was created. Shelly Lake is the producer and engineer of this delightful CD. She definitely knows what she is doing in the recording studio, I've not heard high-power acoustic instruments mixed quite so well before. Five stars all the way around, and looking forward to more of the same.
REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine
Bluegrass Unlimited True Grass Revival Review
A review of our "True Grass Revival" CD by Bluegrass Unlimited.
MARTEKA AND WILLIAM, TRUE GRASS REVIVALMARTEKA AND WILLIAM
TRUE GRASS REVIVAL
After my first listening to True Grass Revival by Marteka and William Lake, I knew what I was going to say: Wow! Marteka, at age 15, is already a banjo player who demonstrates much depth. She has obviously studied Earl Scruggs in detail, and she showcases his arrangements with the touch of a seasoned musician while never sounding like a cloying copycat. Her playing is crisp (Bill Emerson-like), her tone is nuanced, her notes pop, and her timing reflects an older bluegrass style rather than today’s more metronomic cadences. She tackles not only “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” but also Earl’s harder tunes like “Shuckin’ The Corn,” “Ground Speed,” and “Nashville Blues.” Her ear-catching high break on “Old Joe Clark” unleashes a perfectly-timed glissando (fancy word for a long slide!) up to the 17th fret and a neatly-placed 12th fret choke.
If I’ve laid it on pretty thick about Marteka, that’s because this 11-song CD is all banjo all the time with the exception of guitar breaks from younger brother William on “Foggy Mountain Special” and “Wildwood Flower.” William also provides solid rhythm guitar (with echoes of Charlie Monroe) along with rhythm mandolin chops, which I first mistook for a snare drum. Charley Lake, the third musician, plays bass. There are also four vocals—“Salty Dog Blues,” “Petticoat Junction,” “Six White Horses,” and “Sittin’ On Top Of The World”—which feature William doing the lead and Marteka adding the tenor. Their singing hasn’t quite caught up with their playing yet—it sounds like the siblings are still trying on vocal styles and experimenting with harmony—but their song choices show that they are sinking their roots deep into early bluegrass.
Is there room for growth here? Sure. But a strong foundation has already been laid. I can’t wait to see what Marteka and William build on it. Good luck!
(Marteka & William Lake, 62 River Breeze Rd., Hacker Valley, WV 26222, www.marteka-n-williamlakebluegrass.com.)MHH
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