• James Harvey

Album Review – Trad is Rad - Taco Tapes – 2021

As I've said before, Folk music is an ancient form of recording history, both cultural and informative. As a Cumbrian (and now Hebridean, if only by post code), it's part of my past, present and future; songs from hundreds of years ago, take on new meanings when sung by a modern Folk singer yet they still retain that connection to the past. It's also a way to discover other cultures, to understand what it means to live in that location, through both the hard-times and the joyous ones.

Taco Tapes, a group of artists from the Folk genre, have collected and put together in the traditional way ie., a live, one take range of songs, from the heather covered Mountains of the Scottish Highlands (Which makes us happy as we are in Nis, Na h-Eileanan Siar) to the Majestic Appalachians; and everywhere in between.

© Taco Tapes

Firstly, the Artists:

Jeremy James Meyer – The Bard and we are told a pretty good carpenter

Ben Walden – The one man band, master of the strings, no matter what they are attached too, and the summoner of melody

Joe Hein – The consciousness-expanding master of the Pump Organ

Woodshedders – a lively and much loved Folk band, especially over here on the Islands of the UK.

Alan Jones – The Producer and Engineer, the sorcerer whose tasked with getting it all together for your listening pleasure.

© Taco Tapes

The collective talents of all the above are fused into ten tracked albums that starts off with 'Sail Away Ladies' a song that is known the world over but changes lyrics and meaning depending on the Country in which it's played.

It's a perfect start for this album, showing the love and understanding the artists have for the source, as well as allowing us to latch onto the familiar and join the journey with them. From here we are moved across cultural divides with tunes such as '(Cold,) Frosty Morning' and Melinda.

© Taco Tapes

Yet, instead of making these insular, Taco Tapes, through their original style do, as all good Folk music does, open its history and origins up to us all, allowing us to enjoy visits to other places, to experience the emotions that forged these songs.

Be it a modern-ish track in the form of 'Black Widow' or one that seems to have been around longer than time itself, we are treated to a modern contemporary album of passion, understating and love with a seasoning of traditional throughout.

© Taco Tapes

The end result is a jubilate fusion of Bluegrass, Folk, Blues, Jazz romp, an album that for me, instantly strikes a cord and settles into my playlist like an old friend that has popped round for a glass of mead and a seat at the firepit.

Whether the album is simply listened to and enjoyed or leaves you with a lingering desire to explore the history as well as the origins of these songs; one thing is pretty much guaranteed, this album will leave you with a smile on your face and a tune on your lips.

Taco Tapes, Trad is Rad, is out on the 28th January 2021 via American Standard Time Records on all good streaming sites.

For more information have a look here

Bandcamp site is here

Thanks to Sean Jewell at American Standard Time Records for the preview.

Stay Safe - Stay Well - Peace & Love.

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