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Spuyten Duyvil - The Social Music Hour Vol. 1

~ CD Review ~

Apr 9, 2015
Kimmy Sophia Brown

Right off the bat, lead singer Beth Jamie Kaufman urges you to “Keep Your Skillet Good and Greasy.” The innocent may wonder, hmm, what does she mean by that, but she does not fail to draw the listener in, with that Stevie Nicks-ish edge in her voice, suspended over the twanging, metallic throbbing posse of strings and wailing harmonica.

The second tune, “Hot Time in the Old Town/Preaching on the Old Campground” brings up a festive feeling in a Stephen Foster kind of way. Mark Miller’s vocal is full of energy and enthusiasm and I feel like I’m listening to The Band. I feel the same about “Reno Factory” – lots of energy like the horses are dragging the wagons and spilling all Mama’s china outta her chifforobe. Lord what have I done?

Spuyten DuyvilIn the tune “Lord Franklin,” I’d swear Beth is channeling Sandy Denny. And while we’re at it I have to say I’ve never heard such a passionate version of “Barbara Allen”.

Beth nails this version of “Cruel War,” which kind of pulls in the feeling of “Last Kiss” with “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” She gives it ever so much more urgency than the anemic flower-children renditions of this old tune in the ‘60s. The mandolin in the background gives it a gypsy flavor too.

Doesn’t it make you feel good when a mammy and pappy have children that can sing well too? “Make Me a Pallet” is a joyous, bluesy rendition of this tune by Beth and Mark’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Dena Miller. She ends the song with a little laugh. Gosh, I wish my parents had been this cool.

These twelve traditional songs out of the virtual Americana handbook have been re-realized in this earthy collection, which could probably convince people who think they don’t like old folks songs to think again. The instrumentation is full throttle and exuberant, as are the vocals and harmonies. All I can say is, that if I have had this much fun listening to a CD, I can’t wait to see them live. And they’re coming to One Longfellow Square in two weeks and I plan to be there! Don’t miss them if they come to a venue near you. Oh, and it’s pronounced SPITE EN - DIE VUL, which is also the name of a Dutch neighborhood in New York. Visit their website at spuytenduyvilmusic.com. (Click image to see larger version.)

Photo from spuytenduyvilmusic.com press kit.

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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