Abigail Washburn was busy during the first half of 2005, laying down tracks for her first solo album on Nettwerk and serving as a member of Uncle Earl on Rounder. Song of the Traveling Daughter is an apt title for the type of folk music Washburn makes: acoustic, easygoing, and tuneful. Songs like "Sometimes" and "Rockabye Dixie" give the impression of being traditional, and Washburn's simple, old-style banjo accompaniment deepens this impression. However, these and the other songs on Traveling Daughter are mostly originals, and when they're backed by offbeat arrangements, it's clear that she wasn't born in Appalachia. These fresh elements, especially on cuts like "Coffee's Cold" and "Eve Stole the Apple," present Washburn at her best. The jazzy guitar and banjo work, catchy upbeat melody, and harmony make "Coffee's Cold" a jaunty, fun bit of nonsense, while heavy bass, percussion, and sassy fiddle add a sonic blast to "Eve Stole the Apple." "Who's Gonna Shoe" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine," on the other hand, sound rather blasé in comparison. Taken at a lackadaisical pace, both are pleasant, but less essential. Even here, though, Washburn is a good singer, capable of bringing an airy quality to neo-traditionalism. Song of the Traveling Daughter is a good first album that will appeal to fans of the Be Good Tanyas and Uncle Earl.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.