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Telfer's Cows: Folk Ballads from Scotland

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Album Review

After listening to Telfer's Cows, one would never guess that Andrew Calhoun was an American artist, much less a singer/songwriter of contemporary material. The subtitle — Folk Ballads from Scotland — partially explains this impression, but it's strengthened by the singer's thick brogue, which recalls Edinburgh more than Portland, OR, where the album was recorded. The transformation has less to do with trends, though, than a desire to bring forth an even dozen songs that date back hundreds of years, and have thus stood the test of time. Calhoun's interpretations of songs like the title cut and "The Unquiet Grave" eschew contemporary artifice for straight traditionalism. His vocal readings are straightforward and his arrangements, featuring guitar, bass, violin, and accordion — are simple and spare. It's also nice that Calhoun avoids a number of obvious songs for rarer fare like "King Orfeo" and "Kinmont Willie," and that he doesn't mind spinning these songs out for five and six minutes. As with a number of older folk songs born out of oral cultures, it's the stories, not a catchy melody or chorus, that hold the listener. Calhoun has crafted a fine album, which qualifies as the closest thing to real Celtic music on this side of the Atlantic. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr., Rovi

Biography

Born: 30 November 1957

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Sensitive lyricism is set to gentle, acoustic melodies by Chicago-based singer/songwriter and record company owner/producer Andrew Calhoun. Influenced by early John Prine, Leonard Cohen and Martin Carthy, Calhoun brings a poetic approach to his unique style of songwriting. Although he continues to perform and record as a soloist, Calhoun has expressed his love of acoustic music as much through his record label, Waterbug Records, which has released more than forty albums by such artists as Chuck...
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Telfer's Cows: Folk Ballads from Scotland, Andrew Calhoun
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