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Tradition Magazine,
March-April 2000


Here's another double CD dose of fine old-time music. I think this couple have been around quite awhile, but this is my first opportunity to review their work. I'd like to think of them as country roots music. They are quite steeped in mountain music, and their musical style reflects this. Some fine claw hammer banjo here, and the guitar playing is delicate and right on the mark. The mix on both CD's is quite pleasant, so it makes both of these projects one of those put another log on the fire dear, I'll get the tea, and we'll listen together. This truly is a sharing experience when listening to this fine duo.

Some of their songs are from the Smithsonian, don't I know, since that's where my own Folkways works are now stored, somewhere in the deep dark cellar there. Ann Case has a real sweet, typically mountain voice we so love to hear full of sincerity, and also plays the guitar. Phil lends his fine voice to harmony parts, but concentrates on providing some fine guitar, banjo and mandolin parts. Sure enjoy their interpretation of Miss the Mississippi and You, a great Jimmie Rodgers song that suits Ann's voice perfectly. "Higher Ground" words were written by Johnson Oatman, Jr (a distant relative of Mike Oatman?) and is another perfect fit for this fine duo. I really love the CD cover song "Never Grow Old" and the cover itself is a work of art. Love it! Ann and Phil are very very careful about the research on the songs they do, and more artists should be doing what they are doing so effectively. "The Springtime of Life" is another collection of really fine research and a "true" rendition of what old-time music is all about. I'm thinking this one is the oldest of the two CD's but it is hard to tell, they are both fine productions. Musicianship and vocal arrangements are truly fine. Enjoyed the yodeling on Minin' Camp Blues and original by Trixie Smith. The yodel was such an important method used to reflect pain and sorrow, it's unfortunate that today's country music mode considers it "hick"...Lordy, Lordy what we have lost in pursuit of greed. Sorry Nashville, you wouldn't recognize the fine artistry of Ann & Phil Case, but those of us in the hinterlands where the "real" people live, love them to death. Darn it, another 16+ I'm going to have to rearrange my rating system. (Bob Everhart)