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Blue Country Heart

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Album Review

Acoustic fingerpicker Jorma Kaukonen fiddled around with his country roots a bit in Jefferson Airplane and dipped a little deeper while fronting Hot Tuna, but his 2002 release, Blue Country Heart, is his most summertime-afternoon, front-porch-pickin' album. The album is comprised of traditional country songs from the '30s and '40s popularized by legendary performers like Jimmy Rodgers, Jimmy Davis, Gene Autry, and the Delmore Brothers. The blue country band features contemporary acoustic virtuosos Sam Bush on mandolin, Jerry Douglas on dobro, bassist Byron House, and Grammy-winner Béla Fleck on banjo, backing Kaukonen's nimble fingers and gruff vocals. The whole album carries an easygoing vibe throughout; whether Kaukonen is waiting for a train, recounting his promiscuous tomcat, or escaping from a chain gang, his voice maintains a relaxed feel, and the "no overdubs" recording style gives it a real "living room jam" kind of sound. The recordings aren't flawless, but pretty close, and any brown notes and voice crackles only help to add to the down-home atmosphere, making for a warmly enjoyable listening experience.

Biography

Born: 23 December 1940 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jorma Kaukonen was born and grew up in Washington, D.C., where he first turned to the guitar. He lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early '60s, playing backup to singer Janis Joplin in local clubs. In 1965, Kaukonen became a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, which soared to fame in 1967. Though Kaukonen's songs and vocals were not prominently featured in the band, his distinctive guitar-playing was crucial to its sound. With bassist Jack Casady, Kaukonen...
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Blue Country Heart, Jorma Kaukonen
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