The Trail of Time
The Twilite Broadcasters
The timing was too perfect not to be deliberate. It was as though Canada Post had expressly arranged to end the postal strike in order that this CD arrive in my mailbox during the Calgary Stampede. What better time to indulge in a little bluegrass, after all?
The Trail of Time by the North Carolina duo, The Twilite Broadcasters, is pure and simple indulgence. There are no fillers and nothing contrived on this album, just authentic early Americana and bluegrass, delivered with deft instrumental virtuosity and perfectly paired two-part harmony.
It's hard to believe that Adam Tanner (mandolin, fiddle and vocals) and Mark Jackson (guitar and vocals) have only been playing together since late 2008. Perhaps it has something to do with the selection of traditional songs on The Trail of Time, certainly it has a lot to do with the conviction with which they deliver those songs, that make The Twilite Broadcasters such an anachronism in the age of indie hipsters. The respect and the care that they take to honour musical history is obviously deep and genuine. They are also inspired instrumentalists.
The Trail of Time bursts forth with the only original song on the album, which left me hungry to hear more original compositions from The Twilite Broadcasters. I challenge you to refrain from air-picking along with this bright and spritely instrumental, North Buncombe Gallop, as you envision fingers flying joyfully across instruments.
The remainder of the songs on The Trail of Time are all authentic and respectful renditions of early American standards of country and bluegrass. Selections from the Louvin Brothers, the Carter Family, Charlie Monroe, the Delmore Brothers, and Hank Williams, performed with intricate instrumentals and gorgeous harmonies, create a parlour atmosphere, where we gather around the Victrola at the end of a long summer day. There is a timelessness to the instrumental tracks in particular, tracks like Fiddler's Dream and Land of Lincoln, that catapult me back to a Manitoba social on a sultry evening, when the hall door was propped open to let in the air and the old people took over the dance floor.
The Trail of Time is a highly evocative record. Each track draws out memories, whether personal or part of the collective consciousness. The Twilite Broadcasters are capable and caring archivists of those memories and under their stewardship these traditional songs are breathed new life.