I have a list of albums I meant to write up but never managed. These two are pretty close to the top of the list and both of them fit the introspective mood I have found myself in as of late. I have always loved bluegrass but have found very little of the modern stuff that really piques my interest so I haven’t really covered the genre all that much around here but classics such as The Carter Family are a staple in my playlists at home. So I was happily surprised when I discovered The Black Twig Pickers’ Ironto Special. It is a solid ‘shine swillin’ fest from the opening instrumental “Don’t Drink Nothin’ But Corn” to the closing march “Rockin’ in a Weary Land”. This heavy on the fiddles doesn’t suffer from trying too damn hard. The tracks consist of thirteen Appalachian classics and two original with all the traditional instruments you’d expect to find in a ‘grass band and some of the lesser known such as washboard, bones and mouth harp. It honestly sounds like these guys had an amazing time playing and recording this one. You can just feel it while you listen. I swear if this one doesn’t make you tap your feet, at the very least, then you really should check to see if your soul is intact!
Now if there is anything I am a sucker for it’s a Gospel tune! I have my grandmother’s, God rest her soul, collection of Elvis doing Gospel, Johnny Cash’s Gospel songs can bring a tear to my eye and of course as I mentioned above the classics like The Carter Family. You bring a fiddle to the party and sing about Jesus or hellfire and I am likely going to be a fan. I already had the album above in my dirty little sinning hands when I came across the very same backing some dude named Charlie Parr with whom I was not familiar. I quickly became a fan of Charlie and a bigger fan of The Black Twig Pickers. If Ironto Special makes you want to throw some corn squeezin’s down the hatch them Glory in the Meeting House is just as sure to make you want to repent, grab a snake and start praisin’ Jesus. You just can’t beat old time Gospel songs and with the instrumentation from The Black Twig Pickers it is top of pile as far as modern Gospel goes.
Charlie Parr and the Black Twig Pickers – Death’s Black Train
Charlie Parr and the Black Twig Pickers – There Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down
Charlie Parr and the Black Twig Pickers – Pure Religion