This trio walks a very fine line between folkie authenticity and grating pretense. Singer/guitarist Tim Eriksen is a brilliant player whose renditions of "Gypsy Davy" and, especially, "The Dying Californian" are high points of the album. Peter Irvine, who sings and plays the frame drum, is also a good singer, but his raw-throated style and Appalachian ornaments sometimes make him sound like something of a poseur, as on the slightly embarrassing "Old Virginia." He plays a mean frame drum though, especially on the instrumental "Booth Shot Lincoln/Hangman's Reel," and his duets with Cath Oss on "Seven Long Years" and "Katy Cruel" work quite well. Eriksen contributes a very nice modal clawhammer banjo tune entitled "Sugar Baby," but it's not at all clear why the song needed to go on for nine minutes. The program ends, interestingly, with the full-out punk rock of "Jersey City," which turns out to be one of the most effective tunes on the whole album. Imagine Hüsker Dü performing Child ballads, and you'll have an idea of what it sounds like. Wouldn't mind hearing a whole album like that.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson