Ginny Hawker

Letters From My Father

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Ginny Hawker brings a rare authenticity to each recording. Both Bristol, recorded with Kay Justice, and Good Songs for Hard Times, recorded with Tracy Schwarz, breathe new life into old-time music. Letters From My Father finds her in the company of Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, and Dirk Powell for 16 songs covering everything from traditional country to bluegrass to honky tonk. Many songs, like the title cut, will remind listeners of Hawker's earlier work. The unaccompanied "The Gospel Ship Has Long Been Sailing" would fit comfortably on earlier albums, while the banjo of "Undone in Sorrow" perfectly captures the spirit of old-time music. Overall, however, Letters From My Father strays quite a bit from her earlier old-time work. Pedal steel embellishes "The Day I Lose My Mind," laying the groundwork for a vocal reaching back to Kitty Wells and Melba Montgomery. "You Don't Tell Me That You Love Me Anymore" reaches back even further, with a bluesy fiddle and emotional vocal paying tribute to country music's roots. If the fuller arrangements shock old fans, they will also perk up the ears of anyone who loves classic country music. Darrell Scott's lap steel and Kari Sickenberger's harmony on cuts like "Oh, So Afraid" and "Long Black Limousine" propel Hawker back to the '40s. Bypassing a singular approach on Letters From My Father, Hawker settles on a simple standard for a song's inclusion: good, authentic music. Fans and anyone who enjoys first-rate acoustic music will welcome this lovely neo-traditional album.

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