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Crooked Still

Still Crooked – 2008 (Signature Sounds)

Reviewed by Tim FitzPatrick

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CDs by Crooked Still

After the departure of talented cellist and big personality Rushad Eggleston, Crooked Still is back with their third release. Eggleston's shoes are filled by Brittney Haas and Tristan Clarridge on fiddle and cello respectively. Both are welcome additions. Haas' fiddle breaks complement Greg Liszt's inventive banjo. Clarridge's rumbling interplay with bassist Corey DiMario manages to be both driving and intricate. The result is consistently interesting and rewards careful and repeated listening.

As with their past releases, much Crooked Still draws from older sources. Selections include the chestnut "Poor Ellen Smith" and Ola Belle Reed's "Undone in Sorrow," and Mississippi John Hurt's "Baby What's Wrong with You."

Singer Aoife O'Donovan helps connect the modern arrangements to the band's more traditional roots. Her breathy delivery is more polished than her forbears, but sticks close to the original melodies. In doing so, she helps the band stay the right side of that delicate line between innovation and self indulgence.