Like the Willow Tree

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On their fourth album of largely traditional fare, Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly produce an impressively varied set, ranging from camp meeting songs like "Angel Gabriel" and the spirited "Johnny I Hardly Knew You" to solemn Irish tunes like "Star of the County Down" and a similarly Celtic-leaning rendition of "Omie Wise." Ultimately, the duo is best when stripping away the excess instrumentation and reducing the arrangements to clawhammer banjo and dulcimers. Transcendentally simple songs like "Willow Tree," comprised of two mountain dulcimers and their always exemplary harmonies, ultimately show the pair's best side. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable set recommended as one of the best in the Atwater-Donnelly catalog.

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