I could tell, even before I listened to the CD, that this was to be a special treat. The cover art is simple, stylish and spot on; the support band is spectacular.
Steve Spurgin and I have been email buddies since I first found his Distant Faces album on eMusic Live many years ago. I have followed him since on his various journeys with the bands California and Sundance then duetting with Dan Crary and in his own band Sawmill Road as well as several most enjoyable Spurgin solo projects.
With stellar musicians Jim Hurst, Missy Raines and backing vocals from Chris Stuart and Janet Beazley Folk Remedies was a winner from the start for me. I’m hoping that this combo might just tour on this side of the pond. Steve has a most pleasant voice with more than a passing resemblance to the great Gordon Lightfoot and his compositions are storytelling tributes to his formative years in West Coast folk, folk/rock, early electric bluegrass and a mis-spent youth in the company of some of the finest musicians ever to grace my musical memories.
This particular CD, as the title suggests, is a return to the sounds of his folk roots and would sit very well in the middle of my well thumbed LPs from my own Irish folk boom days of the 60s and 70s. Shades of Gordon Lightfoot, early Bob Dylan and Ian and Sylvia vie with the guitar styles of Red Shea, Terry Clements and Dick Rosmini to totally enthrall on this timeless set of Spurgin originals.
The album opens with Whiskey Town which sets the tone for 12 other fine, well-balanced vocal/guitar driven tracks. The second track Long Gone introduces the tight vocal harmonies of Back Country ‘s Chris Stuart and banjo heroine Janet Beazley. I must also mention If I Never See Ireland Again which manages to get an emigrant’s feelings across without sounding all ‘Oirish’ or patronising. The CD finishes with Carolina in the Fall, one of the best from the Kruger Brothers.
This album is a very welcome addition to my Steve Spurgin collection and only helps to reopen my interest in and enforce regular airplays of all his previous CDs. And I can't finish without saying a big thanks to him for introducing me to one of my most played signature tunes on my radio shows It's A Great Place To Be When You're Lonesome which really says what the I feel that Lonesome Highway e-zine and radio shows are trying to get across.