Demolition String Band

Where the Wild, Wild Flowers Grow: The Songs of Ola Belle Reed

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Ola Belle Reed was a remarkable and enduring Appalachian songwriter, and it's only right that her songs should be resurrected. The wonderfully named Demolition String Band (from the greater New York area) really pays her a proper tribute with this disc. Above all else, what they have going for them is singer Elena Skye, whose raw vocal style is perfectly suited to the material and who sings with pain and passion. Everything else here is in a support role; Skye and the songs are the stars, as she proves on "Only the Leading Role" and "Where the Wild, Wild Flowers Grow," where Mary Neva Huff supplies vocal backup. The instrumental backing is skilled and solid but utilitarian -- there's no attempt at flashiness, nor does there need to be. They carry the songs. It may not be the only tribute Reed is ever paid -- and she certainly deserves to be properly reassessed -- but it's a fine, fine start.

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