Tag Archives: Jason Riley

CD Review: Jason Riley, “Funky Folk”

He might be overstating things a little with the “funky” part of the title — no one is ever going to mistake Jason Riley for Booker T.

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, or even the Sugar Free Allstars — but this is an utterly pleasant, thoroughly nifty nine-song instrumental tour through European and American folk traditions.

Anchoring a three-piece combo that features himself on “guitars and sundries,” Craig Kew on bass, and Terry Brock on violin, Riley serves up simple, affectionate takes on public domain favorites, running between two and four minutes apiece. It all adds up to a very quick listen — it’s over in less than half an hour — but it’s still an interesting case study in just how deeply kindie artists rely on folk music. If you’ve built a decent-sized collection of family music, you probably own more versions of “Froggy Went A-Courtin'” or “Camptown Races” than you can count, and you may not even notice when an artist like, say, Caspar Babypants covers a traditional number like “Shoo Fly” or “The Cuckoo.

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