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Old Ties

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Album Review

Norman Blake will never be known as a revolutionary. His starkly honest guitar picking and gently lulling voice have sounded almost exactly the same for the 30-some years that the Rounder release Old Ties encompasses. Often performing solo, occasionally accompanied by his wife, Nancy, and any of a number of bluegrass and neo-traditional folk musicians (Tut Taylor, Charlie Collins, Doc Watson), Blake's summery, porch-swing ballads and blues are perfectly performed and humbly executed. Working with the traditional themes of old-timey folk music, Blake re-creates the earthy feel of a timeworn classic the first time a song emerges from his guitar, and his unpretentious, reverent style delivers the music in an intimate environment. The compilation sticks to his more traditional-sounding compositions and interpretations, making for a wonderful afternoon listen and the perfect introduction to Blake's uniquely faithful style. Although his musical offerings may never be seen as revolutionary, his unwillingness to change to a more contemporary mode of folk music may be a kind of revolution...if anyone wanted to argue about it. Luckily, with music this pure, no one does.


Born: March 10, 1938 in Chattanooga, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although he is proficient with a variety of stringed instruments, Norman Blake is famous for his acoustic guitar skills -- he was one of the major bluegrass guitarists of the '70s. Blake came into view in the late '60s, when he began performing as a sideman with artists as diverse as June Carter and Bob Dylan. During the '70s, he began a solo career that quickly became one of the most popular and musically adventurous within bluegrass. He continued recording and performing -- occasionally with his...
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Old Ties, Norman Blake
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