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Cahalen Morrison & Eli West I'll Swing My Hammer With Both Hands (Cahalenandeli)

Traditions run deep on this third album from the duo that makes old-time American music come alive in the here and now as few others can.

Morrison and West tapped into more than a musical wellspring when they got together, though: from the start they've sung and played like family and the relationship keeps getting stronger, the mutual understanding clearer and the music itself more vibrant. They could be backwoods brothers downing tools and picking up instruments as they tear with raging conviction into Living In America, the song whose opening line gives the album its title, or lonesome cowboys singing the blues on the Hank Williamsesque Natural Thing To Do. There's lickety-split bluegrass sophistication too, with Brittany Haas from Boston's Crooked Still adding fiddle to the guys' mandolin and guitar, gospel fire and brimstone, knockabout farmyard fun and poetic rustic imagery sung with passion, grit and realism. They're touring Scotland later this month; go and grab some soulfood.

Rob Adams

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