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Silk City Link:

Silk City

Silk City

2000, Sliced Bread Records

Larry Cohen, Danny Weiss and Barry MitterhoffI like bluegrass-influenced music more than bluegrass, Dawg influenced more than Dawg, classically influenced more than classical. Right now I like Silk City better than just about anything else that I have been listening to recently. Silk City is Barry Mitterhoff on mandolin and mandola, Danny Weiss on lead vocals and guitar, and Larry Cohen on bass and organ. This group has spent many years backing Tony Trischka, who joins them for a few cuts on banjo. Their sound is more cook than flash and flame. They bubble, boil and syncopate to a warm bass line and a dash of spice from Mitterhoff's mandolin and Weiss's guitar. Danny Weiss's vocals are easygoing as opposed to stretched to the high lonesome limit.

The material comes from a wide variety of sources. The album starts with Robert Earl Keen's "Think It Over One Time," featuring Tony Trischka on banjo. The next tune, "Velverde" has a Dawg in gypsy mode feel with guest musicians on drums and triangle. Danny Weiss's "Time Slips Away" is a gently swinging ballad in honor of his father. The fourth track, “Marche Funèbre d’une Marionnette” will ring a bell with many as the theme music to the Alfred Hitchcock TV show. The mandolin lead leaves you between thinking it’s a hoot in this arrangement and not being able to remember it any other way.

The album goes on surprising one with its range of styles, classy arrangements and tasteful performances. Well-chosen covers involve the listener with heartfelt vocals and attention to the lyrics. Guest musicians leave their mark with Rob Ickes laying down some bluesy dobro on the rocking “What You Don’t Know,” and Tony Trischka again adding his magic banjo to Weiss’s “Trailer Tracks.” The eclectic approach and time-tested musicianship make this is the kind of album you’ll want to slide into your player and listen to straight through…and it only gets better if you set it to repeat!—Michael Devlin

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