Ivan Rosenberg

thefoggyhogtownboysandivIf I hadn’t just met and hung out with Ivan Rosenberg at Gerald Jones’ Acoustic Music Camp in Arlington, TX this past weekend, I would have wanted to meet him as soon as I read his liner notes to 2009’s The Hogtown Sessions. Living in Portland at the time, Rosenberg flew to Toronto with specific intentions for this collaboration with the Foggy Hogtown Boys. “We settled on some rarely-covered bluegrass and country classics plus a few originals, aiming overall for a 1970s medium-traditional Yankee-grass aesthetic.” Done. I’m sold. Rosenberg further clarifies: “In record bin terms, that’s between the ‘Late-Suit’ and ‘Mid-Late-Polyester-Shirt’ eras, when bands were occasionally taking liberties with the structures and content of bluegrass songs, but the results were still firmly in the genre.” Yep, I’d wanna hear that.

The music these guys have made more than bears out those intentions. All the elements are here: cool, well-chosen, not-overdone songs, deft picking that’s both driving and tuneful, and rock-solid lead and ensemble vocals, all recorded and mixed with a warm, punchy sound that jumps out of the speakers. Oh, and while Rosenberg modestly describes his own playing here as “a mostly traditional Dobro approach that rarely exceeds 1978 slide technology,” he’s got all the right chops in all the right places, and contributes two of his own tunes to boot. What’s not to dig? Go get this record.

 

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