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Daughters and Your Sons
Artist: The Duhks
Label: Sugar Hill
Buoyed by the success of their American debut record, (30,000 sales in six months), The Duhks have conceded to the public demands, and re-released their first disc, Your Daughters and Your Sons. The Canadian newgrass band takes a very similar approach to that of labelmates Nickel Creek – lots of stringed instruments, some traditional songs with new arrangements, some medleys, some cover tunes, and some original pieces - all of these are rife with vocal harmonies. Considering Nickel Creek bassist Mark Schatz produced this disc, this comes as no surprise.
"Rock of Ages" is not the old hymn, but rather the goal of the song's protagonist. Originally a David Rawlings/Gillian Welch composition, the tune is expanded here to include an amazing instrumental bridge build around Leonard Podolak's banjo and Tania Elizabeth's fiddle. It is also one of the few tracks on the record that stand alone, rather than segueing into another piece. "Pretty Boy Floyd/Stoney Point" is a new treatment of the Woody Guthrie classic, contrasting the nature of the outlaw who murders policemen but gives generously to the poor.
"Crusty Rolls & Chili" comprises four traditional instrumental pieces, as rearranged by the Duhks. The title track examines the freedom earned in war, both counting the cost involved and the patriotic spirit than can result. "The Leather-Winged Bat" is an old song that attempts to explain the bat's reason for flying at night - lost love.
There is a lot here to be savored. Your Daughters and Your Sons doesn't quite reach the same level as The Duhks, but it is easy to see how this album led into the next. Irish and bluegrass aficionados alike will enjoy this one.
Brian A. Smith