Northwest Folklife: Live from the 2011 Festival

various artists

2011: Northwest Folklife NWFL-CD-2503

  1. Love Me or Leave Me Alone

    Nell Robinson with John Reischman   The Jaybirds

  2. The Bonfire

    Molly’s Revenge

  3. On God’s Rocky Shore

    Cahalen Morrison and Eli West

  4. Massive Choosits


  5. Pole Pole


  6. Careful Where You Are

    Ravenna Woods

  7. Pustuno Ludo i Mlado

    Mary Sherhart   Michael Lawson

  8. Reuben’s Train

    Squirrel Butter

  9. Robin


  10. This Is Me

    Wheedle’s Groove

  11. Reno Factory

    The Jelly Rollers

  12. I Ain’t Got No Home

    Carl Tosten

  13. Loft in Seattle

    Abi Grace

  14. One Day More

    Reilly   Maloney

My third year of designing the CDs in this series from Northwest Folklife has a delightful collection of performances. I’m most impressed by the power of Spoonshine’s “Robin” and had the great pleasure of seeing Cahalen Morrison and Eli West perform “On God’s Rocky Shore” and several other pieces at the CD release party in Seattle. Aside from the Ravenna Woods track, which because of its truly unfortunate audio quality was almost cut from the CD, the album has a really nice flow…presumably thanks to producer Kelli Faryar’s sequencing; it has a particularly nice close, coasting to the end with increasingly sweet and tender songs and performances.

I also have an unexpectedly strong affinity for the Jelly Rollers’ version of “Reno Factory,” a song I hadn’t encountered before this. For me, it is redolent of the endured heat of a summer night (although this impression would be stronger if the brisk, brushing percussion element were absent, as it can seem to be when the track is played at quieter volume). This one brings images to my mind that have nothing to do with the lyric and more to do with the evoked eras—1920s, 1930s, and late 1950s, to my ear, although my doorway to the latter is a 1965 context. There’s an industrial light fixture or two (the kind with an incandescent bulb under a wide shell, maybe glazed dark green on top) hanging above the otherwise dark indoors scene, that light baking coldlessly down on the scattered, immobilized denizens under it, and the setting as a whole implies both a distressed impermanence and the timelessness of those patches of life that drag on seemingly forever. Nice job, guys.