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Cahalen Morrison and Eli West - I'll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands (Self Release)

Star rating: 
4

It doesn't seem all that long ago since the last album by Cahalen Morrison and Eli West dropped onto the doormat. This was the first time I'd come across these two exceptionally tasty musicians, who from the very start demonstrated the way American folk music should be approached; with no small measure of assurance and confidence, but at the same time with immediate accessibility and completely devoid of musical clutter.

Produced by Tim O'Brien, Morrison and West's third album takes its title from a lyric in Morrison's biting Livin' in America, a masterful bluegrass number which effectively sets the tone for the rest of the album, perfectly demonstrating the duo's musical chops and their almost sibling-esque close vocal harmonies. Essentially a duo, the two musicians are joined by Erin Youngberg on bass together with a couple of guesting fiddle players, Ryan Drickey and Brittany Haas as well as O'Brien himself. Well, if Tim O'Brien is already in the studio, you might as well find him a mandolin and a bouzouki, both of which will always come in handy in his very capable hands.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky