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Bluegrass Unlimited
(April '97)

Ann & Phil Case - The Springtime of Life
Ann and Phil Case present an enjoyable and exquisitely simple compact disc of old-time songs. The Cases keep their focus on the songs themselves, singing them instead of singing through them. Their selections rarely prove unusual, but the material is uniformly excellent.

Their love of these songs gives "The Springtime of Life" its strength. Equally important, the Cases do not attempt to recreate the original recordings. Nor do they make the common mistake of trying to sing as if they were the Appalachian folk that they're not. Ann has a very clear, pleasant voice. She does not detract from this strength by trying to do anything extraneous. With simple guitar and frailed banjo accompaniment, she renders these classics honestly. A good voice with a good song provides more than enough. It also means, however, that "The Springtime of Life" won't appeal to certain audiences, such as those into more raucous, fiddle-driven string band music for dancing, those who want their old-time music aggressively traditional and Appalachian, and those who want old-time music reconstructed for the 1990s. It will find an appreciative audience among those who like real music presented honestly and lovingly. AM