CD Review: KIRK SUTPHIN & RILEY BAUGUS – Long-Time Piedmont Pals


Long-Time Piedmont Pals

Silly Bill – Sfuzanna Gal – Lonesome Road –
Last of Callahan – Riley & Spencer – Evening Star Waltz – Roving
Cowboy – Paddy On The Turnpike – Fortune – Drunkard’s Dream – Liberty –
Cripple Creek – A Married Man’s Blues – Pretty Little Shoes – John Hardy
– As Time Draws Near – Big Eyed Rabbit – John Brown’s Dream – Birdie –
West Virginia Farewell – Wild Bill Jones – Forked Deer – Molly Put The
Kettle On


Wow, clawhammer or drop-thumb, whatever you want to call
it, this album takes it far back in time, to the very roots origin of
‘country’ music.  What a treat to hear it done just like it once was. 
This is indeed a space ride into the past, these two guys have it down
exactly as it was once performed.  Grandpa Jones comes to mind first as
one of the oral traditionalists that kept the music alive, but Ralph
Stanley also did it with his amazing drop-thumb style of banjo playing. 
This really old country music goes back to the very roots of where this
music came from.  Probably the front porch somewhere in the Appalachian
Mountains where the music prevailed and became the ‘gathering’ of folks
with hard work behind them, a few hours of pleasant interlude, keeping
their spirits alive, their hopes in tact, their longing to be
entertained vilified and fulfilled.  The instrument playing is at it’s
best, but I’m also deeply impressed with the ‘old-timey’ sound of the
vocalist as the song unwinds itself, the story intact, the meaning more
than available.  Kurt Sutphin had the incredible experience, at the age
of thirteen, of actually meeting Tommy Jarrell who played both banjo and
fiddle. I can definitely ‘hear’ the ‘style’ of Jarrell in his playing. 
What a wonderous thing it is to be able to pass this incredible ‘roots’
adaptation on to our hardened ears from listening to music today so
incredibly corporate produced for corporate profit alone.  Wow, what a
difference to hear the sensible and sincere offering, simply because it
is has such an incredible ‘place’ in the development of country music as
such.  These longtime Piedmont pals, surely have their music ‘together’
and their background of constantly seeking out the ‘source’ of the
music is almost unheard of today in modern music.  Synthetic, digital,
electronic, loud, the human spirit removed.  That’s what so-called
country music is today, and I shall not continue to say my mind with
regard to that.  These two fellows have managed to dedicate their music
life and talent to a musical art form that should be one of the most
revered musical art forms in America.  But alas, so the ugly word called
‘Progress’ tends to interfere, but it certainly doesn’t ‘destroy’ the
music, for here it is, in all it’s splendor and glory, just like it was
way back in the days of Tommy Jarrell, Henry Whitter, Wade Ward, Charlie
Lowe, Kahle Brewer, Ward Jarvis, Oscar Jenkins, and many more of the
‘old-time’ players and singers from the early 20’s when 78rpm records
were the ‘outlet.’  What has bothered me so much over the years was
ASCAP’s incredible refusal to license these original musical artforms,
in their own words, “It’s not fit for human being to listen to.” Wow
what an incredible, and normal’ reaction from a ‘corporate’ state of
mind.  Good luck in all you do Kirk & Riley, this CD will go on to
the Rural Roots Music Commission for their ‘CD of the Year’ awards.  The
only ‘hook’ on that being you have to be present to accept.  Last of
August in 2018 is the next award ceremonies.  I’d keep a date open if I
were you, and you can make the trek to Iowa to see how all this
happens.  Thanks for the space trip back in time, one I really enjoyed.

RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Country Music Assn., for Country Music News International

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