CD Review - Moonglow on the Midway
Annie and the Hedonists
BY Glenn Weiser
Metroland, September 14, 2006

Annie and the Hedonists

Moonglow on the Midway (Windy Acres)

The Capital Region’s own Annie and the Hedonists conquer a large swath of acoustic territory on their second CD in 16 well-chosen covers. With more than seven decades of swing, bluegrass, blues, contemporary folk, and even Jewish Tin Pan Alley represented, one wonders what, stylistically, this polished, eclectic quartet can’t do.

Led by Annie Rosen, a top-flight singer whose sultry alto calls to mind a young Bonnie Raitt, the Hedonists are her husband Jonny Rosen on guitar and steel guitar, Betsy Fry on bass guitar, and her spouse Steve Fry on guitar, keyboards, mandolin, and, even flugelhorn. All three Hedonists sing backup as well. Along for the often rootsy ride are vocalist daughters Hannah Rosen and Amanda Fry, and local instrumental aces Frank Orsini and John Kirk on fiddle, Dave Kiphuth on banjo, Kevin Maul on dobro, and Peter Davis on clarinet.

The foursome open with “Everybody Loves My Baby,” an uptempo minor-key 1924 Tin Pan Alley tune. Annie slinks coquettishly through the verses, and Orsisni contributes an urbane fiddle break. The next tune, the 1937 hit “Me Myself and I,” stays in the same vein, and Annie stays in form despite a somewhat bumpy ending on the part of the rhythm section. Another 1930s tune, this time in Yiddish, follows: “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen (To Me You Are Beautiful).” Davis’ urbane clarinet gives the tune an appropriate klezmer quality here.

But there’s more than swing on this thing—“You Don’t Know My Mind” is a strutting traditional blues, and Stillhouse is a1996 song by Gillian Welch that evokes Appalachian old-time music with its modal melody. The real jewel of the album, though, is Annie’s moving rendition of Lucinda Williams’ “Sweet Old World,” a lament for a departed soul that shows how the alchemy of music can transcend heartbreak.

Fans of fine picking and masterful vocals will welcome Moonglow on the Midway.

Index of Metroland Articles by Glenn Weiser      ©2006 by Glenn Weiser. All rights reserved.  


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