Jimmy Gaudreau / Moondi Klein

Home from the Mills

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Given their solid bluegrass and newgrass credentials, what looks like a brother-duet format, and the fact that they're recording for Rebel Records (one of the country's foremost traditional bluegrass labels), you would expect mandolinist/tenor singer Jimmy Gaudreau and guitarist/lead singer Moondi Klein to deliver a nice, safe program of classic pre-bluegrass and proto-bluegrass material, probably reprising a bunch of Louvin Brothers and Blue Sky Boys songs the way Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs did on their classic duo album back in 1980. But no. Instead, what you get is a wide variety of folk and acoustic country tunes, songs by the likes of John Starling ("C&O Canal"), Gordon Lightfoot ("Shadows"), and Townes Van Zandt ("If I Needed You"), as well as such oddball selections as a French aria from a Massenet opera and a new version of "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie," a song that was a hit for Fats Waller in 1935. There's some traditional material, all of it instrumental: lovely renditions of "Fisher's Hornpipe," a medley of "Whiskey Before Breakfast," and "Red-Haired Boy" -- potboiler stuff, certainly, but played with winning grace and affection. Klein and Gaudreau are both getting on in years and you can hear it in their voices; Klein, in particular, isn't as solid as he was back in the days of Chesapeake and the Seldom Scene. But they still harmonize beautifully and they pick like a dream. Their many fans will find lots to love on this album.

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