If you like your stringband music hot, but flavourful then Kevin Fore’s new album “Frolic In Round Peak” belongs in your collection. Technically the cd is by “Kevin Fore & Friends” and what a collection of friends it is. Reading the track list is like reading the Who’s Who of Round Peak Music. From Benton Flippen, Bobby Thompson, Chester McMillian, Verlin Clifton, Kirk Sutphin and Riley Baugus to the many great musicians of Kevin’s generation like Emily Schaad, Jeremy Stephens, James Burris, and Joey Burris. Even this is not a complete listing of all the musicians on the album.
Kevin and bunch are joined on several tracks by eighty nine year old master fiddler Benton Flippen, who also contributed a brand new tune to this album: “Benton’s Haystack Blues”. The Fiddle part is real slippery, slithery as befits a blues, while the banjo weaves in and out through the music. The tune would fit into a set list from the 1930s, instead of the strict confines of most post-war blues tunes, it has a modulation characteristic of the early radio era.
I was not familiar with “Red Bird” but it is going to be the next tune I add to our jam lists. I keep going back to it again and again. Bobby Patterson plays guitar on this tune and Benton Flippen once again provides stirring fiddle.
Durham’s Bull Is another new tune (to me) and it features Emily Schaad fiddling in the swinging style of Benton Flippen, her mentor
If you think there is no room for clawhammer banjo against bluegrass banjo riffs, listen to “Sally Goodin” with Kevin on the fretless and Jeremy Stephens on bluegrass banjo, working together to create an entirely novel blend of banjo textures. Now add Kirk Sutphin on fiddle and you have an Old Time & Bluegrass cross with the drive of Round Peak.
My favourite banjo track was “Grey Eagle” Where Kevin’s fretless banjo slides around Jeremy Stephen’s fiddle and Kirk Sutphin’s Demonstration of the late Paul Sutphin’s Camp Creek Boys guitar style
Kevin’s regular band, the award winning “Southern Pride” only shows up as a unit on a single track “Lost Indian”. I hope there is a full cd by the group soon, but for now you can find some tracks on youtube and watch the group in action.
Kevin Fore’s first cd (Round Peak - The Tradition Continues) has been out for about a year now, and if you haven’t bought it yet, add it to your order. It is equally consistent high level Round Peak excitement.