A Review of the Madeline MacNeil & Ralph Lee Smith CD
"Across The Blue Ridge"

"Across The Blue Ridge"
by Madeline MacNeil & Ralph Lee Smith

Copyright 2006
Falling Mountain Music

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/06
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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This is a rather 'earthy' release for it contains not only songs readily associated with the hills and hollers of Appalachia, but also renditions that one might truly hear traveling through the territory in the last 100 or so years.

Madeline MacNeil and Ralph Lee Smith, in association with Michael DeLalla, certainly have the street 'cred'--check that, rustic cred--for such a release with MacNeil being a veteran singer and dulcimer player who has performed worldwide, and folklorist and 'dulcimer-er' Smith sporting a history that dates back to Greenwich Village in the 1950s.

The cuts featuring the singing of MacNeil are the most engaging as her vocals are stronger andmore prominent. They include solos on "Somebody's Tall And Handsome," "The Storms Are On The Ocean," "Going To Boston," "Land Of Promise," "Chickens Are a-Crowin'," and "Shenandoah," along with primary vocals on "Old Man At The Mill."

Regarding the selections, "Scarborough Fair" has some lyric/word changes and is quite different from Simon and Garfunkel's well-known version. It's always intriguing how artists diversely interpret a song.

For reasons that will become obvious, "The Old Woman And The Pig" should probably be re-titled "The Oink Song."

With vocals by both MacNeil and Smith, "When Are You Coming To See Me" delivers both the initial and concluding argument of an engaged couple and then an admission that puts the kibosh on the whole affair.

Touches of guitar and harmonica appear on the opening and closing cuts--otherwise it's pure dulcimer and vocals through and through. For 'dulcie' fans and those of this musical genre, this will be a nice addition.

Track List:

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