So Saturday night I listened to three albums I have already told you about one, Hot Tuna’s new album Stready As She Goes. The second one was Joe Crookston’s new album Darkling & the Bluebird Jubilee. I first listened to Crookston’s music last year and his great album Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog a strong collection of songs that in 2009 was given the “Album of the Year” award by the International Folk Alliance indicating that it received more radio airplay than any other folk album released in 2008! This new album may just receive the same award!
Crookston is a fine vocalist, and instrumentalist proficient on guitar, violin and banjo. He is also a great songwriter. which may be why:
He was as a finalist in the Mountain Stage New Song Contest, and received a year-long songwriting grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to travel throughout New York State, interview local residents, and write songs based on his experiences..
several of the songs resulting from those travels appear on Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing him in concert but here’s what his website says:
He stands on stage holding his Martin OM 28, stompin his foot, singing superb songs about ruby red dresses, drunk roosters, ex-slaves, window washers, Polish Immigrants, Tinian Island, rutabagas and the cycles of life & death. He sings about the thread that runs through us all
Standout tracks for me on Darkling & the Bluebird Jamboree include: “Caitlin at the Window” written about Caitlin Thomas, wife of Dylan Thomas, “Good Luck John” is it good luck or bad luck, “he said maybe, hard to say” , “The Nazarene” and the title track “Darkling and the Bluebird Jamboree”. Oh and then there’s the cover of Mary Gauthier’s “Mercy Now”. Oh hell, they’re all good check out the album!
Here’s Joe performing Mary Gauthier’s “Mercy Now”