Art Thieme

Older I Get, the Better I Was

  • AllMusic Rating
    9
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Collecting 22 songs, stories, and jokes from over 20 years of performances at folk festivals, clubs, and at friends' homes, The Older I Get, the Better I Was is a rich and fascinating journey with folk bard Art Thieme as the ultimate guide. Once again delving into an eclectic group of pre-1900 folk songs, early 20th century Appalachian and rural music, and contributions of contemporary writers who specialize in old-time recreations played on six-string guitar, five-string banjo, and his modified nine-string guitar that is a copy of the innovation made famous by bluesman Big Joe Williams, Thieme spins an irresistible mix of conversational charm and poignant folk wisdom. The vibrant storytelling of "The Pokegama Bear" and the mythical "The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry," as well as the spiritual quality of "Is Your Lamp Gone Out?" and the bittersweet tale of rural life lost in "Way Down the Road," are just a few examples of the incredible breadth of material collected here. In short, Thieme, who no longer performs due to the effects of multiple sclerosis, was the genuine article and one of the last great folk storytellers. This collection serves his legacy well.

blue highlight denotes track pick