The other day while driving deep into the Kanawha River Valley where the ancient Appalachian mountains hug the Kanawha River on my way to Montgomery, West Virginia, I plugged in my iPod and pushed “play” on The Heart’s Swift Foot. To my delight it was the perfect album for the trip. It had just finished raining, so the Valley was washed clean of the coal dust and the mist that was rising from the mountains like primitive ghosts rising from the ground bringing to the surface the region’s past. And, old Route 60 lined with its dilapidated buildings and unkempt trailers and homes showed the raw Appalachia which magically became clean in the fresh scent of the rain.
It was The Heart’s Swift Foot‘s similarities and differences to my surroundings that became clear to me in the car. Driving through the Valley while listening to this album I could hear its Appalachian foundation. Red Tail Ring skillfully creates a modern version of traditional Appalachian music with refined and pristine songs that would normally be rugged and earthy. Although this duo does delicately bring this ancient music into the 21st Century, they do it with ease and reverence. On songs like “Ohio Turnpike” and “Suffer Every Sound” the rich traditional undertones can be heard, while the title track, “The Heart’s Swift Foot,” taps deep into the Scot-Irish heritage of Appalachia, showing the duo’s respect and paying homage to this historic region. It can also be said, that these songs sound like tracks taken straight off of an Abigail Washburn album. But, it’s the gentle plea of the mountain lullaby, “Clearing in the Wild,” and the airy and stunning “Katy Came Breezing” that made me fall in love with The Heart’s Swift Foot. It washed my heart clean — a musical baptism of sort — like the rain on Route 60.
Buy The Heart’s Swift Foot
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