Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer

  • Child Ballads [Wilderland, 2013] B+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Child Ballads [Wilderland, 2013]
The 305 canonical English and Scottish ballads are obviously good tunes--time-tested, one might say. And these seven are pretty much unchanged, too. Yet subtle fiddle, accordion, pump organ, and especially bass liven up the acoustic guitars just a touch, and both Mitchell's fluting, childlike lead and Hamer's mellower follow avoid purist sanctity as well as modernizing pizzazz. If only I could swear the presentation is so beguiling I keep the plots in mind. But I will say that the two about mean parents thwarting true love speak more directly to my spirit and conscience than the one about the fine lords going down on their very own Titanic, and point out that what saves the princess-laying Willie of Winsbury is he's R-I-C-H rich. B+