Grit Laskin

Unabashedly Folk: Songs and Tunes 1979-1985

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When taking into account just how amazingly talented Canadian folk singer Grit Laskin is, as he has mastered numerous folk styles and instruments, it becomes altogether shocking that this man has been virtually unknown in the United States for most of his career. Nevertheless, giving in to demand from his loyal fan base, this reissue of two classic Laskin albums on his own Borealis Records (1980's vinyl-only Unmasked and 1985's Lila's Jig) are a welcome addition to any folk enthusiast's collection. On Unmasked, Laskin incorporated a variety of traditional jigs, reels, and polkas with his own startlingly original compositions while starring on guitar, concertina, tin whistle, button accordion, Appalachian dulcimer, long-necked and tenor mandolins, and Northumbrian smallpipes. Recounting the tragic murder of Israeli Olympians while incorporating an Israeli folk tune in "End of a Pointed Gun" is balanced perfectly with the more lighthearted verse of "The Photographers" and the bonus track "The Upper Class Shanty." With Lila's Jig, Laskin set out to make an album of traditional dance tunes, though a number of his social commentaries managed to slip into the set. The result was a similarly enjoyable collection of folk music that continued to transcend traditional themes while reverentially presenting folk forms. Overall, Unabashedly Folk is a great introduction to Grit Laskin's music.

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