Sing Out! Magazine CD Review

2010.05.26

A great review of my last CD with Casey Joe Abair, If You Want to Go to Sleep, Go to Bed, just out in the new issue of Sing Out! Magazine:

The title of this wonderful 17-song collection of traditional tunes comes from long-gone Round Peak banjoist Charlie Lowe, who preferred up-tempo songs. The album is aptly titled, a delight to listen to and explore. “Explore” because nearly all the songs, though familiar (“Devil’s Dream,” “The Coo Coo,” “Ducks on the Millpond,” etc.), are based on versions that are a bit more obscure. These small differences add a great deal of interest to the recording. For instance, “Bonaparte’s Retreat” is based on Bill Stepp’s version, rather than the more well-known melody.

The liner notes state that the album was recorded “direct to stereo, over the course of a few months in our homes, not always under the most sanitary of sound conditions, the sirens on ‘Sugar Baby’ for example” – there’s definitely an old-time aesthetic to the recording. These guys are well versed in the repertoire, but even more important, they deliver it with fresh abandon. They don’t sound like they’re scared to make a mistake, which is an even greater homage to the old songs.

Hunter Robertson previously released a solo CD, Sings Songs for the Masses, to good reviews, and this is Casey Joe Abair’s first recording. A word might be said about Robertson’s vocals, which tend toward the gravelly side. I like his voice, but it’s a tone more on the bluesy side of old-time. Still, we don’t all have to sound alike, and his style is unaffected. A highlight is “Hog Eyed Man,” with amazing lyrics that come from the dark underbelly of old-time.

Terrific packaging and liner notes, with brief historical sources on each song and banjo tunings. A highly engaging selection, well played. — CS for Sing Out! Magazine

More on the album, including sound files, here: www.hunterrobertson.com/ifyouframe.html

New CD Review – Maverick Magazine

2010.04.14

A great review of If You Want to Go to Sleep, Go to Bed came out recently in Maverick Magazine.

Fast-paced picking carried off in such a confident and prolific way that simply leaves you gob smacked.
This being his second release, the Californian-born but now French native Hunter Robertson really is something. Consisting of seventeen songs, it is evident from this raw and unadulterated beauty that what we have here, ladies and gentleman, are some ultra fine musicians playing their hearts out. This type of music is at its finest when played live and untouched, and I suspect that this was the case here as, after Hunter’s superlative efforts on banjo and Casey’s fine fiddling, they just played it until they got it right and pressed it onto disc.
The finest track has to be The Devil’s Dream. Perfect for The Louisiana Hayride when it was in full swing, this relatively short track of less than two and a half minutes is perfect in every sense. Whether it be the excellent banjo or superb fiddling, there is nothing to dislike about this track. The same can certainly be said about June Apple. A moderate fiddling pace, this tune has a relaxed bluegrass sound which I’m sure allows the crowd to show their appreciation in rapturous applause; a track which is not one to dance to as when Casey and Hunter play like this such an occasion has to be watched.
An experience to relish, listening to this album sure was a most enjoyable time. A highly recommended album which I strongly urge you to try and track down.” Russell Hill

Listen: The Devil’s Dream

New CD Release

2009.11.12

July 25 2009 (pre blog, thus the date)

New CD from Hunter Robertson and Casey Joe Abair

New CD from Hunter Robertson and Casey Joe Abair

I’m pleased to announce the release of a new album, Casey Joe Abair & Hunter Robertson If You Want to Go to Sleep, Go to Bed (Yodel-Ay-Hee 074), an album of old-timey banjo & fiddle duets – traditional American music from the Appalachians. It comprises 17 traditional songs and tunes, learnt from a variety of sources – mainly musicians long gone. Follow the link to listen to some tracks, get more information and of course, to buy it. You can also get it from CDBaby or Menzies Stringed Instruments. Elderly Instruments and County Sales will also have it in stock shortly, as well as iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon, and other purveyors of fine mp3s.