Live from the Make Believe

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Following up on 2001's Artifact, the guitar duo Dromedary (Rob McMaken on guitar, mandolin and Appalachian dulcimer, Andrew Reissiger on charango and guitar) offered this beautiful set of studio and live recordings. Split into two days, Live from the Make Believe offers two sides of Dromedary. Day one was spent in the studio, playing renditions of tunes you don't usually see -- you shouldn't be seeing -- side by side. The apocryphal "Klezmer Girl" (penned by the duo but good enough to pass as authentic) is followed by the French-Canadian "Ukrainian Stomp." That's fine, we remain in a Central-European mood. Things start to get awkward with Radiohead's "Airbag": not as gripping as the original but still a commendable arrangement. Tunes by Carlos Paredes, Bill Evans and a Southern U.S. spiritual complete this first set. The fact that these six selections hold together well and make sense as a whole is Dromedary's biggest achievement. The second half of the disc documents a live performance with guests Ryan McMaken on dobro, and Yugoslavian violinist Andrej Curti. The quartet performs spirited Dromedary originals, including a fine new reading of "Camels Waltzing" from Artifact. Paredes' "Valsa," given an East-European lecture, provides another highlight. A reprise of the "Ukrainian Stomp" brings us almost full-circle in a festive way. Brilliant.

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