Jorma Kaukonen and Blue Country
Acoustic fingerpicker Jorma Kaukonen fiddled around with his country roots a bit in Jefferson Airplane and dipped a little deeper while fronting Hot Tuna, but his 2002 release, Blue Country Heart, is his most summertime-afternoon, front-porch-pickin’ album. The album is comprised of traditional country songs from the ’30s and ’40s popularized by legendary performers like Jimmy Rodgers, Jimmy Davis, Gene Autry, and the Delmore Brothers. The blue country band features contemporary acoustic virtuosos Sam Bush on mandolin, Jerry Douglas on dobro, bassist Byron House, and Grammy-winner Bela Fleck on banjo, backing Kaukonen’s nimble fingers and gruff vocals. The whole album carries an easygoing vibe throughout; whether Kaukonen is waiting for a train, recounting his promiscuous tomcat, or escaping from a chain gang, his voice maintains a relaxed feel, and the “no overdubs” recording style gives it a real “living room jam” kind of sound. The recordings aren’t flawless, but pretty close, and any brown notes and voice crackles only help to add to the down-home atmosphere, making for a warmly enjoyable listening experience.
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