Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves’ self-titled debut album is a powerful opening statement from the two world-class musicians. The record showcases the spectacular musicianship of two artists on the leading edge of a generation of old-time players who are questioning old narratives, and acknowledging the diversity that has always existed in the genre.
The album draws tunes from sources reaching to Mississippi, Missouri, and the Arkansas Ozarks, in addition to the Appalachian string-band music in which Hargreaves and de Groot are grounded. Though both musicians are known primarily for their world-class instrumental work, this album also showcases their proficient vocals and the duo’s playful harmonies on The Poplin Family’s ‘I Don’t Want to Get Married’ are pure joy and very much remind the listener of the Carter Family sound.
As with all old time music the subject matter can be difficult. Racism and physical violence against women are subjects tackled in ‘Beaufort County Jail’, a song that tells the tale of a 20-year-old black woman named Joan Little who was assaulted by a 62-year-old white male jail guard wielding an ice pick.
Fiddle and string mix and interweave across multiple instrumentals and lyrical gems, creating multiple rhythms that harmonise with each other throughout the thirteen track record showing hints of the Irish, Scottish and English influences behind the original Appalachian music the settlers brought to the new world. The duo also handle production duties and in doing so deliver an aural treat to the listener, so good in fact, that it sounds like it is coming straight out of an old wooden valve wireless.
This new album is a fresh, celebratory collaboration between two of the most accomplished old-time musicians of their generation.
‘Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves’ is released on 22nd March 2019 on Free Dirt Records.