Skip Gorman 'A Herder's Call' - Old West

This seasoned multi-instrumentalist and vocalist is a true believer in the western way and this collection of mainly traditional songs includes such classic cowboy songs as Git Along, Little Dogies, Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie and Home On The Range along with some lesser know but equally rich songs. Gorman is joined by Connie Dover, Mary Burdette, Matt Levine and Angus Gorman on guitar, acoustic bass, slide guitar and harmony vocals. It is a campfire-warm sound that will please any fans of the genre and other artists like Don Edwards or those who started the genre like Rex Griffin, the Cartwright brothers and Carl T Sprague.

Some of the songs are stripped down to voice and banjo as on A Cowboy's Life while others use bass, guitar, fiddle and more for a fuller sound. All have an authenticity that comes from an understanding of a traditional folk form that draws from a romanticised vision of the cowboy's life. But beyond the celluloid vision there was a harsh reality for those who lived that life and these songs also reflect that truth as much as the myth.

Gorman has also a love for the roots of these songs, many of which relate to Irish songs and tunes and in his extensive and informative sleeve notes he details the history of these songs. It shows again that the lost art of the informed sleeve note which can add so much to the enjoyment of the songs and their deep roots. While I'm not an aficionado of the genre,  I have several albums that draw on that tradition and enjoy the tales they tell.

The hour plus running time of this CD is well spent and Skip Gorman is undoubtedly one of the best exponents of the genre who has several albums in his catalogue. This recent collection is a very good place to start listening to a storyteller who weaves his blanket of heartache, loneliness and death with passion, skill and heart.