Joe Troop – Borrowed Time
Eclectic. The music of Joe Troop & his banjo slides down the same slopes as Pete Seeger. He has Appalachian flavors, & injects pretty cool sideswipes by adding Spanish words in the concluding moments of “Horizon.” I listen & come away believing if legendary acoustic guitarist John Fahey had a cousin who played banjo, Joe Troop would be him.
Troop’s voice is thin – but it’s the thinness that lends it its genuine quality, authenticity. Troop (banjo/vocals/guitar/fiddle) certainly has enthusiasm in his voice & range. He’s effective with “The Rise of Dreama Caldwell.” A fluent folk heavy riveting showcase where Joe hits high notes with clarity, & emotion, as well as, venom & conviction.
Borrowed Time (Free Dirt-Drops Aug 20) has 12-cuts radically-colored at times. Troop may alienate an audience if he’s too heavy. This CD isn’t. It’s balanced. I don’t blame Joe for wanting to help unfortunate people but choose the audience carefully. Bob Dylan abandoned it, Victor Jara was killed, Phil Ochs sold few records & then committed suicide.
The instrumental “Sevilla,” has superb playing. The novelty-leaning “Red, White & Blues,” is in the tradition of a Woody Guthrie. It shows Troop’s writing/singing with a sense of humor.
Produced by Mr. Troop with Jason Richmond the CD’s songs are enlightening. Listeners will embrace it, some will get pissed off. So be it. It’s all in keeping with self-expression.
This world will always have fortunate & unfortunates. Human nature. Ultimately it makes each of us interesting, & unique. A person born in a tenement on the lower east side of NYC may never occupy a room at Buckingham Palace. So what? Maybe a good folk song would address that. Who is really happier? Free? Did you ever live among the Royals? Pomp & circumstance, proprieties, tradition, rules, decorum. Who’s really free?
Solidarity is lacking in this country. But it’s one of the few diversified countries, a melting pot. Some refuse to acclimate. It’s difficult. We eat Spaghetti, ravioli, & lasagna. Tacos, burritos, drink tequila, Jägermeister, listen to varied music. Solidarity’s hard. But a lasting friendship? That’s rich.
Musicians: Trey Boudreaux (upright bass), Lionel Sanders (cymbal/charjchas Central Andes rattlers/bombo leguero – an Argentine drum), Tim O’Brien (mandolin/vocal/fiddle), Abigail Washburn (vocals), Nokosee Fields (fiddle/guitar/bass/upright bass/vocals), Brevan Hampden (drum/Cajon – Peruvian drum/congas/cowbell/shekere – West African percussion-gourd), Lizzy Ross (vocal), Sam Fribush (organ/piano), Charlie Hunter (guitar), Alamance Justice Choir, Omar Ruiz-Lopez (violin/vocals), Bela Fleck (banjo on “Mercy for Migrants”), Reed Stutz (mandolin/vocal), Olivia Fernandez (mandolin/vocal), & Lu Furtado (banjo uke/vocals).
Photo: Kendall Bailey.
The 40-minute CD is available @ https://www.joetroop.com/store/joe-troop-borrowed-time-cd