A Review of the Steve Blackwell & Friends CD
"And So It Grows"

"And So It Grows"
by Steve Blackwell & Friends

Copyright 2003
Peace Creek Productions - PCP 1004
3712 Balboa Court
Punta Gorda, FL 33983
ph: (941) 743-8919
http://www.inklein.com/~blackwell/ and

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 2/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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What's in the water in Florida? On second thought, scratch that, I really don't want to know. What I do know is, whether it be the water, sun, coast line or cost of living, Florida is where a number of folk musicians are calling home. First, Cyd Ward and then Carrie Hamby emerged from whatever shadows can be found in the Sunshine state with enjoyable CDs, while long-time folkie Rod MacDonald has been in Florida for a few years, having relocated from New York.

Continuing the trend, Punta Gorda-based (don't you just love that name) Steve Blackwell and his cohorts have released their third collaborative CD, and the talent displayed for twining lyrics and music into a pleasing musical marriage in the previous offerings, is again featured.

Blackwell, some of his family members, and a few friends, have collaborated on a number of songs about people and events of Floridian history, plus a few inclusions covering different territory and topics. This group utilizes a mix of instruments and slow, medium and fast tempos, sometimes all within the same song. This is what makes this release so enjoyable. That, plus Carrie Blackwell Hussey's remarkable vocals.

"A Porch, A Marsh, A River" is Steve Blackwell's pleasing tribute to his wife of 36 years. Possibly a metaphor for the tree of life, "Mystery Tree" features Carrie Blackwell Hussey on lead vocals. She can sing anything she wants for this reviewer.

"Plumes" details the murder of Guy Bradley, hired by the Audubon Society to protect snowy egrets in the Everglades. At $35 an ounce for egret feathers in 1905, the lure of filthy lucre won out over the life of a man.

The lives of two other Florida natives, Stetson Kennedy and Harry T. Moore, are recounted in songs of the same names. A champion of human rights, Kennedy battled the Ku Klux Klan and others trampling upon the freedom meant to be enjoyed by all. Moore, a school teacher and NAACP leader, died, along with his wife, on Christmas Eve when their house was blown up after Moore took on a corrupt and racist sheriff.

"Another Stretch Of Coastline" is a prayer for the quick and deserved extinction of the caterpillar, that of the mechanical species.

Done in a bluegrassy style, again with the compelling vocals of Carrie Blackwell Hussey, "Ballad Of Aamdou Diallo" recounts the 1999 death of the West African immigrant at the hands of New York City police officers. On the lookout for a rapist, four officers fired 41 shots, hitting Diallo 19 times, as he reached for what officers thought was a weapon. Diallo was unarmed.

The hymn, "Amazing Grace," closes out the listed songs. Listen closely as the rhythm of this version is remarkably in step with "The House Of The Rising Sun."

Be sure to catch the hidden track at the end. All those in the grips of the demon ukulele will surely empathize.

Blackwell, on vocals, guitar and harmonica, is assisted by Dan Leach on vocals, mandolin, guitar and banjo; Andy Leach on acoustic bass, electric bass, lead guitar and mandolin; Gary Gee Helinski on recorder and flute; Carrie Blackwell Hussey on vocals; Japhy Blackwell on saxophone; Kelly Mulhollan on banjo and Donna Henschell on fiddle.

Track List:

All songs written by Steve Blackwell, except as noted.

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