After ten years or so of performing with Cordelia's Dad, Tim Eriksen has released his self-titled debut. The first thing an old fan will notice is the bareness of the arrangements, with Eriksen accompanying himself on guitar, fiddle, banjo, and guitar with no overdubs. Infused with old-time fiddle and vocals, songs like "Hick's Farewell" and "Garden Hymn" are well founded in traditional Appalachian folk. Eriksen's vocal and guitar work is mesmerizing on the nearly seven-minute "Brown Girl," a haunting tale of love, betrayal, and murder. Part of what makes this song, and others, like "I Wish the Wars Were All Over," so successful is the deliberate pacing. The interplay between guitar and voice creates a measured tension in the lyrics. All of the instrumental work is impressive. There's a great guitar workout on "Mobile Serenade Polka/Shep Jones Hornpipe," and the banjo is given its due on "Last Chance." Eriksen takes greater vocal risks, singing unaccompanied, on "Farewell to Old Bedford," "Hope," "Dress in Blue," and "Village Churchyard." The first three work well, and clock in at two minutes or less, a length that seems to work well with a cappella singing. "Village Churchyard," though, runs almost eight minutes, and represents the most daring vocal on the album. Some listeners may find his approach over-exuberant and overlong. While Eriksen is clearly digging deep into folk tradition on this album, he is also using his distinct approach to put his personal stamp on this music. This gives traditional-based tracks like the "Lass of Glenshee" and "Leave Your Light On" a contemporary edge. Tim Eriksen goes a step further than recent Cordelia's Dad albums, exploring the roots of old-time folk in spare settings. Traditional music enthusiasts will enjoy this one.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.