The Roe Family Singers: Songs of the Mountains, Songs of the Plains

I do seem to get drawn to the roots and branches of bluegrass: old-time music, traditional bluegrass, new-grass, string band, Celtic, etc.

This band would fit comfortably under the old-time umbrella, but carries plenty of folk, country, and Americana; aren’t they all related in some way? Imagine Woody Guthrie sitting down for a front porch jam session with Johnny Cash, throw in a couple of fiddles, a washboard, a clog dancer, and an occasional kazoo and you’re starting to get the idea. Toss in a musical saw to add it’s somewhat eerie flight among the other instruments and you’re really on the right track. After all, when was the last time you saw a band with a saw-player sitting in? And you know, with that whole collection of players I almost forgot to mention the jug player.

Since they bill themselves as a “hillbilly old-time band” (even though they hail from Minnesota) I think they have all the bases covered!

On the first listen some real gems shine brightly, “Rank Strangers To Me” and “Hallelujah, I’m Ready To Go” will have you checking to see if you set the time on your stereo to 1935.

And if you didn’t know that the original seed for forming the band was a local concert in tribute to the Carter Family then their version “Sweet Fern” should tip you off, sweet indeed!

“Rank Strangers To Me”

The album draws to a close with the sing-along “This Land Is Your Land” (Woody Guthrie),
if the band doesn’t have you tapping your toes and singing along by that point then I guess there’s not much hope for you 🙂

The band is Kim Roe (vocals, autoharp, washboard), Quillan Roe (banjo, archtop guitar, vocals), Joe Hayes (Appalachian clogging), Rob Davis (jug), Rich Rue (resonator guitar), Rich Froehlich (mandolin), Adam Wirtzfeld (musical saw), Dan Gardner (vocals, flattop and electric guitars), Ric Lee (fiddle) and Eric Paulson (upright bass). As you can see there is a LOT going on when they’re playing, I think this is one band you really have to see live. Not knowing how soon they’ll make it to the New York area you should check out the rest of this album and give your ears a treat while you wait!

Pinecastle Records

Mark Hudson

Mark Hudson is a long time local HVBA member and music lover who, unfortunately, had to move away. He misses the local scene but will look for you at Greyfox!

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