Song of the Traveling Daughter
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2005, Volume 12, #10
Written by John Metzger
At first glance, Abigail Washburn is simply another up-and-coming artist attempting to make a career out of revisiting the old-time folk and bluegrass styles that returned to prominence in the wake of the commercial success of the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Her debut Song of the Traveling Daughter begins with a steady-rolling sound of banjo, and throughout the collection, she employs an array of minimalist accompaniments in order to carry her otherwise pop-leaning compositions into the heart of America’s past. What separates her from the rest of the pack, however, is that she interjects splashes of Eastern culture into her material. There are hints of it lurking behind the gospel-blues of Eve Stole the Apple, flickering within the rustic refrains of Rockabye Dixie, and floating through the poetic a cappella piece Single Drop of Honey. Yet, all of it is merely a setup for a trio of tracks that come late in the album. Indeed, the fusion of Backstep Cindy with Purple Bamboo is a nifty juxtaposition of cross-continental concepts, but when she delivers the title track as well as The Lost Lamb in the Mandarin dialect of Chinese, she succeeds in transforming the songs into something far greater than a mere parlor trick.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box