The Freight Hoppers - Where'd You Come From, Where'd You Go?
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Where'd You Come From, Where'd You Go? (Rounder, 1996)

The Freight Hoppers

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

The answer to the first question is straight out of the '20's and '30's, sounding like hillbilly musicians offering themselves as the forerunners of country and bluegrass.

The quartet - Frank Lee, banjo, David Bass, fiddle, Cary Fridley, guitar, and Hanne Jorgensen, bass,usually play it fast, furious and lightning quick ("Logan County Blues," one of the disc's highlights) throughout the 16 songs devoted to the music of generations ago, but they keep it fresh sounding and simple. Bass plays one mean fiddle, serving as the anchor for many songs. At times, the sound grows repetitous ("Sandy River," "Cotton Eyed Joe"), but the music maintains a warmth, making you wish you could hear the band live. The bluegrass feel of "Little Sadie," about a North Carolina murder, offers a nice change of pace. Here, as elsewhere, Fridley offers supportive backing vocals. She sings lead on the closing "Bright Morning Stars," leading one to wish there was more of her vocally.

As to where the band is going, it will be interesting to see if they continue only mining the past. At the very least, this recording ought to, as the group says, "help keep old time music alive.




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