Fourtold represents the combined talents of Anne Hills, Michael Smith, Steve Gillette, and Cindy Mangsen. Each member has had a successful career as a songwriter and/or performer, but this matters less on the group's debut than their ability to work as a unit. Fourtold is unabashedly old-fashioned, harking back to the folk revival of the '60s with versions of Peggy Seeger's "Ballad of Springhill" and of Gillette and Tom Campbell's "Darcy Farrow." With four singers -- two males and two females -- the group one-ups Peter, Paul & Mary to specialize in well-balanced and appealing harmony. While Fourtold does conjure up images of yesteryear, the band's folk musings never seem overly mannered like the Kingston Trio's or the New Christy Minstrels'. Instead, its smart vocal arrangements, backed by spare acoustic instruments, give golden folk oldies a fresh makeover. Eric von Schmidt's "Joshua Gone Barbados," for instance, never sounded so natural. The lyrics come to the forefront, allowing the listener a whole new appreciation of this classic. Fourtold intersperses a number of originals by Hills, Gillette, and Smith for an attractive mix of old and new. The album ends with a rousing take on Blind Blake's "Run, Come, See Jerusalem," finishing on a joyous note. Fourtold offers proof that revival folk music isn't a dead style; it just requires the right combination to make it breathe again.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.