A Review of the John Lowell & Ben Winship CD
"Occupational Hazards"Snake River Records SRR 018
by John Lowell & Ben Winship
Copyright: Snake River Records, 2005.
This review is written by Dai Woosnam, firstname.lastname@example.org, 9/05
These two guys are from the state of Idaho. And that in itself is
worthy of note. Not too many CDs by performers from that state find
their way across The Pond to me here in the UK.
This is their second album together as “Growling Old Men” their group
name for themselves. That name is a bit too subtle for me, since
anything less “growling” would be hard to find, and judging by their
photos they are far from old.
What they are however, is the Real McCoy when it comes to
bluegrass-influenced old-timey music. They generally approach each
number with Lowell playing marvellously authoritative guitar at
gunslinger speed, and Winship hitting us with the most plaintive of
You can hear that these guys instrumentally are joined at the hip. Each
one makes room for the other like only true kindred spirits can. And
judging from the vocals, they are even perhaps joined at the LIP, for
so simpatico and mellifluously do their voices harmonise with each
They are clearly aiming at a “neighbours sitting jamming on the stoop/
playing on the back porch” type of music, but with none of the rough
The material is mainly bluegrass, but there are a couple of rather fine
self-penned songs toward the end (one by each artiste), and most
startling of all, a not-unsuccessful version of “Billy Taylor” learned
from Karine Polwart at Shetland Folk Festival.
This is an album that has legs. I can imagine it growing on the listener.
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