Review Archive

‘I’ll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands’ from Cahalen Morrison & Eli West

(March 13, 2014)

Following a successful debut album can sometimes be a tough call, especially when your debut gained pretty much universal approval. Then again, ‘I’ll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands’ from Cahalen Morrison & Eli West proves it ain’t that hard if you’re good at what you do. Quite simply, it’s a striking pieceIll swing my hammer with both hands of work that delivers all you’d expect and more. This duo blends ‘tradition’ with ‘original’ in a way that engages totally.

Their intricate mix of sparkling instrumental dexterity matched with elaborate harmonies makes this music eminently listenable. It’s fresh as the morning yet steeped in the annals of the past. It tells tales of today and stories of yesterday, and brings them to evocative life. Above all, it catches the essence of American tradition and adds a subtle twist. From‘Fiddlehead Fern’ and ‘Livin’ In America’ through ‘Pocket Full of Dust’ and ‘Down In The Lonesome Draw’ to ‘Lorene’and ‘Voices of Evening’ this album presents songs that make the incredible symbiosis that exists between these two as clear as a spring day, and just as welcome.

To make ‘I’ll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands’ everything it is Cahalen (banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, and dobro) and Eli (guitar, bouzouki) have added the considerable talents of Tim O’Brien (mandolin and bouzouki) Ryan Drickey (fiddle) Brittany Haas (fiddle) and Erin Youngberg (bass).

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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