Various Artists

Fast Folk Magazine: Songs of Tradition

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This compilation is an exceptional collection of contemporary singer/songwriters who know all the traditional rules enough to enhance or break them. Josh Joffen's "Pontchatrain"-inspired "Girl from the Great Divide" is a riveting revision; Paul Kaplan's "Johnny of Hazelgreen" is lilting and delicate; Nikki Matheson turns in a haunting "Star of the County Down." One side of this album is in English; the other ranges from Italian to Yiddish. The garage-band version of "500 Miles" is a classic.