After performing together as part of one of the archetypal "Americana" bands Chesapeake in the late 90s, former Seldom Scene lead singer Moondi Klein and longtime bluegrass stalwart Jimmy Gaudreau (Tony Rice Unit, Robin & Linda Williams, Country Gentlemen and many more) drifted apart for a decade or so, but reunited in 2008. "2:10 Train" on Rebel was marked by its reverence for the classic country vocal and instrumental duet tradition, yet refreshingly distinctive for its wide scope of material, old and new. "Home From The Mills" is a follow-up on that theme that's every bit as good as the first.
This time around, they're drawing on sources as widely varied as Fats Waller (It's A Sin To Tell A Lie), Townes Van Zandt (If I Needed You) and operatic composer Jules Massenet (Enferment les Yeux), a nod to Klein's childhood training in classical singing.
There are a couple of instrumental turns among the 14 tracks, and while Gaudreau is a longtime known quantity as a mandolinist, let it be said that, as he did on the previous disc, Klein demonstrates that he's a better guitarist that he generally gets credit for. That said, Klein handles most of the lead vocals in a way that transcends considerations of genre.
These are a couple of guys who know that, regardless of where it comes from, a good song is a good song, and they make it work in their own way. Highlights range from C&O Canal (written by Klein's predecessor in the Seldom Scene, John Starling) to Eric Bogle's Leaving Nancy to Gordon Lightfoot's Shadows, all done as on the previous disc without a band, just Klein and Gaudreau (though Klein's daughter Lauren adds a couple of cameo vocal appearances). It's "front porch" music, but in this case the view from the porch is wide and deep.