The Town’s Old Fair
Josh Lederman y Los Diablos
Nine Mile Records
If a Mulligan Stew of western folk music styles were cooked up, then Josh Lederman y Los Diablos would be right in the thick of it. This is broadly-based, eclectic, sometimes exotic music from America that gathers its sources from the world. The result is an easy listening, sometimes provocative, and often humourous stew of musical styles that never loses its flavour.
Featuring almost a full hour of mostly country music imbued with Irish, European, and Mediterranean spice, this CD is an excellent value even in today’s erratic economy. This is not guy-and-a-guitar material but the big band sound of a brilliant five piece combo plus a supporting cast of exceptional musicians. Although this music shows strong international influences and draws upon many traditions, including Pop and Rock, at root the music tends always to sound very American and more than a little Country. Coming out of cosmopolitan Boston, this band could as easily be from South Texas.
The raw baritone lead vocals are rich and interesting, not the usual reedy singer-songwriter vocals we’ve come to expect on a lot of homegrown folk music recordings. Although this is not quite an accurate comparison, I’m reminded of the early work of the Crash Test Dummies (for example: “Superman’s Song”) with their dry vocals.
The instrumental “Palinka” is very interesting. The first few seconds are reminiscent of a Drifters (Sixties version) opening but with the drums giving the music a lot more drive. Then the song shifts gears and becomes very Middle Eastern, not in the traditional sense so much as in the sense that Dick Dale gave “Misirlou” that cool Middle Eastern ambience. The result is a very exciting and exotic sound.
Ranging through country songs that would make Johnny Cash proud, Skiffle-sounding bits, near-Irish ballads, Euro-Pop stylings and more, yet all the while maintaining a comfortable consistency, The Town’s Old Fair bears and even invites repeated listens, with something new to discover on each play.
Support this independent roots music CD reviews blog.