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A Collection of Acoustic Folk, Blues and Swing
By Steve Schweitzer
World class musicians cast their noteworthy skills to a flyfishing audience.
|Recorded on Snake River Records label. Price US$16.99
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“Fishing Music began as a collaboration between musician and recording engineer Ben Winship, and musician and fly fishing aficionado David Thompson.
Ben is a veteran of the acoustic music scene, as a founding member of the bluegrass band "Loose Ties" touring with the Judith Edelman Band, and now joining Dave in Kane's River, currently gaining popularity in the bluegrass world. Ben also produced an acclaimed solo album called "One Shoe Left" in his Henhouse Studio, where much of the Fishing Music album was recorded.
Years back, Dave was a fly fishing guide and instructor before becoming establishing his own outdoor-focused marketing company (and playing music professionally). During the fish-crazed years, he ran casting schools for Orvis, won fly fishing tournaments, and visited some of the top fresh and saltwater angling destinations worldwide. On the music side, Dave founded Kane's River with fellow band member John Lowell, and one of the songs he wrote, This Whole World, made it into the Top 10 on the Bluegrass Charts.
Living near Yellowstone Park, Ben and Dave are both avid anglers, and Ben had always marveled at the vast number of really superb fishing-inspired songs and tunes found in every style of music. He suggested that they record an album that would musically explore some of these great tunes, and tap friends from the acoustic music scene to bring it all together.
One of their main goals was to keep the tracks fun, but not frivolous, and the music evocative, without being contrived. They worked to create a collection of music that conveyed their own perspective on fishing that it isn't about the fish– it's about being outdoors, and having time to yourself.”
This collection of classic acoustically Americana sounds resonates an air of Catskills, but wait, I hear the Adirondacks…no, the N’awlins south comes through. Wait, I now hear modern day folk, or is it a touch of Celtic influence? Yes, I definitely hear the same music the gold-panners of the late 1800’s. But over all those subtle musical intonation influences, modern day bluegrass and folk carries each tune from a historical musical journey to a modern day folk sound. Wrap this around a theme of flyfishing and you’ll have a collection of songs that you’ll never want to leave your fly fishing buggy. To listen to snippets of their music, travel on over to their website where you'll find MP3's of selected segments of songs.
Track 1 – The Important Part of Fishing
This whimsical barstool rag imparts keen logic in only a single phrase: “The important part of fishin’ ain’t the fish but the fishin’”. How true, particularly to those flyfishers who have been there and are “pickin’ up what I’m throwing down…”
Track 2 – Fly Fishing (Peche a la Mouche)
This 1930’s-esque rag features some nifty guitar and mandolin solo work and a soothing clarinet to make your foot tap to the beat twice over.
Track 3 – I’m Gonna Go Fishing
Undoubtedly, the mandolin and lap steel solos are the collective stars of this track. Of any track, the skills of the musical masterminds Ben Winship and David Thompson are at work, overtime that is.
Track 4 – Upstream
This finger-snapping instrumental again showcases the enormous string-strummin’ talent assembled on this CD. Not so fast as to loose your follow and not too slow as to loose your attention, this tune is presented as fine as the perfect 3-weight dry fly cast.
Track 5 – Ocean of Dreams
This ballad is a short story of a lonely trout, growing up and learning lessons of trout life, dreaming of bigger water and more grandeur water-borne journeys. It’s told with an Irish ballad flair accompanied with harmonic voices and a backdrop of crisp clean guitar.
Track 6 – Deep River Blues
Let it be told that I am a big fan of Doc Watson style music. This song is an exercise in perfect Adirondack guitar picking: Alternating bass picking with the thumb and melodic strumming with interludes of a stringed melody. You’ll certainly be singing the sweet deep river blues many times over after hearing this tune.
Track 7 – Madison Brown
Perfect-pitch three-part harmony on the chorus highlights this ballad of the town’s fabled german brown trout, “Ol’ Madison Brown”. The song is kept together with the consistent pluck of an upright string bass and spiced with a rolling guitar solo midstream. You’ll play this one over and over.
Track 8 – The Fishin’ Hole
Those old enough to remember asking mom and dad to stay up late to watch the Andy Griffith Show will remember this tune…but maybe not the lyrics presented with this rendition! You’ll go back in black and white TV memory but will be presented with a colorful modern day fishing version of this classic TV tune!
Track 9 – Lazy River
Things slow down a bit with this methodical barbell-moustached song you could envision being sung next to a straw picnic basket on top of a red and white checkered picnic cloth. Relax a second next to the millstream whilst the band strikes up a tune with this one.
Track 10 – Fish Ain’t Bitin
If picking string instruments aren’t enough, this tune interjects a bit of call-n-response from a baritone sax, an alto sax and a trumpet. The blues-smitten 12-bar rhetoric of this tune will at make you forget that the fish ain’t biting, at least for 3 or 4 minutes!
Track 11 – Fisherman’s Reel
N’Awlins style rag comes through loud and clear with Fisherman’s Reel. If, by the time you get done listening to this tune, you don’t grab your gitfiddle and want to play along jam band style, then you haven’t experienced the jazz call of the south!
Track 12 – Fishing Blues
“Any fish bites when you got good bait”. While the blues ride strong in this tune, there’s no sad story to be told! If ya got good bait, the fishing is good too. Just the same if you got a few good musicians and a catchy melody, you never go wrong with this tune.
Track 13 – Banks of the Moorlough Shore
Celtic tradition sets in with this traditional tune, but not without the stellar female vocal lead. A flowery flute accompanies a guitar and mandolin to bring you back to the lochs of Scotland. While this song, with track 14, departs from the rest of the album, it finds a special place with me and has become my favorite entry on this CD.
Track 14 – The Wicker Creel
A more Irish flair enters the scene with this paired flute melody. Having fished in Scotland and Ireland, complete with a bagpipe player streamside, this tune brings back memories of the roots of flyfishing’s past.
Track 15 – Reflections off the Water
A subtle piano, a sexy female voice, a soprano sax and a traditional trap set spell out the theme of this cigar bar jazz tune. Timely crescendos amplify the strength of this tune: the carried quietness of the brushed drum heads and crisp cymbal taps leading the bass and clarinet around in melodic peace.
If by now you haven’t got the tone of my beat, I clearly loved this collection of tunes, enough to earn its’ own permanent place in my fishing buggy’s CD changer. Having had eight years of alto sax training, three years of piano lessons and 27 years of guitar pickin’, I can appreciate every musical moire' in the collection. But more important to note, there’s something fishy about this CD; fishy karma that is. So be sure to load up your copy and make it part of your pre-stream warm-up routine. Somehow, I get the feeling the fishing god’s will bestow upon you your own memory-making Madison River Brown.
(photos courtesy of Ben Winship & David Thompson)
|For more information or to order, visit Fishing Music.
(GFF has no affiliation with nor receives financial gain from Fishing Music.)
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