Originally released in 1977, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, McCutcheon's second release, was a groundbreaking recording for hammer dulcimer music. Having established himself in folk circles for his instrumental prowess, McCutcheon, having only himself picked up the instrument two years prior, broadened the horizon of the hammer dulcimer as a popular folk instrument. The innovation he brought to traditional jigs, reels, rags, as well as American folk and bluegrass, was, and still is, truly breathtaking. Joined by a cast of friends on guitar, concertina, fiddle, mandolin, and banjo, these songs fill out amazingly well, providing a perfectly adorned stage for McCutcheon's mesmerizing playing, as well as providing excellent harmony vocals on Carter Stanley's "Who Will Sing For Me?" Following up a swinging "Dallas Rag" with Bach's "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring" certainly isn't common pairing, but McCutcheon expertly blurred boundaries on this release. Overall, for fans of hammer dulcimer music, and most fans of traditional folk music in general, this is an absolute must.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Fink