Ed Sweeney – A Sunday Drive with Cathy Clasper-Torch
This is a traditional collection done with respect & credibly performed. Opening with a lovely ancient melancholy public domain piece “Auld Lang Syne,” (the famous New Year’s Eve melody) features the fiddle expertise of Cathy Clasper-Torch prominently. Segueing into another PD tune “A Long Time Traveling,” Ed Sweeney sets the pace of his 11-cut A Sunday Drive with Cathy Clasper-Torch (Drops Oct 6–Independent).
Produced by Ed the music doesn’t flow like a dusty old collection but like vintage songs that sound renewed. It’s primarily laid out with spare instrumentation by Ed (vocals/guitar/5-string banjo/fretless banjo), with the wonderful touch of Cathy Clasper-Torch (fiddle/cello/Erhu) & distinctive Daryl Black Eagle Jamieson (drum/rattle).
One of the catchiest tunes is the incredibly optimistic “Right Foot Out,” which is hard to shake once you listen. In a word, the majority of the tunes are folk songs with a traditional swelling but modernistic touch. Even the third public domain tune is the loneliness inherent in “Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie.” It’s distinctive yet spare which somehow lends the necessary richness it deserves. This was never written as entertainment but as a reminiscence.
More familiar will be George Harrison’s classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” — soothing in the hands of Sweeney & Clasper-Torch. As the press release stated these are like mile markers of what we have experienced through the decades. Reminders of people, places & things.
Amazing how a popular ’60s Beatles song is rendered & interpreted into the realm of a traditional classic – melody as if it always was a folk song. My late father used to say the same thing about “Eleanor Rigby,” – he just believed it was derived from a much older place. But that’s what makes transformative music so interesting – it’s an education.
Peculiar is “A Childhood Medley,” which is made up of familiar childhood instrumental melodies that were pieced together by the late leader of the original Mickey Mouse Club: Jimmie Dodd. Baby Boomers would be familiar with that name – he also appeared in a John Wayne film & the original Superman TV series. Great cover image with the car in the old service station. Fits the music.
Highlights – “A Long Time Traveling,” “Right Foot Out,” “Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “When I Get Home” & “Distant Shore.”
Color image courtesy of Ed’s website. CD cover image courtesy of Cindy Wilson. CD @ https://edsweeneymusic.com/new-release-in-october