In a career that spans a large portion of modern rock and roll history, Jorma Kaukonen has always had the patience and taste that make this one of the most aptly titled records in recent years. Now that he focuses on folk music and the blues, that taste and patience shine through on everything he does.
There are no curveballs here. It’s a set of original music mixed with warhorses you might think would never sound fresh again. But the stringed-instrument Nirvana of “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and the interplay between Kaukonen and Barry Mitterhoff on mandolin on “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” are inspiring. Larry Campbell joins the fray on nine cuts, adding mandolin, pedal steel, and guitar.
Whether funky (“The Other Side Of The Mountain”), down-home country(“Bar Room Crystal Ball”), or bluesy (“Suffer Little Children To Come Unto Me”), Kaukonen’s takes are a treat. The latter cut is especially effective, showing the link between Gospel and “the devil’s music.”
It’s nice to see an artist of Kaukonen’s stature continue his musical journey without any diminution of his considerable skills.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’15 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.