This cd was grammy nominated by Folk Legacy and is one of the finest works of several artists, Debra Cowan, Susan Ruth Brown, and Acie Cargill. Kristina Olsen studied with Acie and learned all the old scales and tunings from his family and plays a haunting guitar accompaniement to these od songs.
John Wright plays the banjo on My Kentucky Home which is a reading by Acie of one of his grandmother's poems. Acie wrote the tune in the background The Road To My Home.
Hattie Mae Tyler Cargill was a noted ballad singer in her part of Kentucky and she was the last of the Tyler ballad singers who were known for their strict preservation of the family's musical traditions. Acie is her grandson and learned to play music sitting on the porch while she sang and he followed on a homemade dulcimer.
Each of these songs is a gem and the album is a treasure chest full of the preserved beauty from bygone generations.
Debra Cowan is a nationally known folksinger and was recommended to sing these songs by producer/folklorist David Weide who arranged for the album to be part of the Folk Legacy catalog of traditional music. The label is owned by the Paton family.
Kristina Olsen is an amazing guitarist who studied the old tunings and scales with Acie and then added her own unique fingerpicking styles. Her tasteful playing never breaks any of the "rules" that were strictly enforced in the Tyler family.
Susan Ruth Brown is possibly one of the best lap dulcimer players in America. Her soprano voice is perfect for these old tunes. She also studied with Acie to make sure all her melodic singing scales were accurate to match the style of the old ballads. John Wright is an excellent drop-thumb banjoist and is heard here providing the background music for Acie's reading based on his grandmother Hattie's poem, My Kentucky Home.
Acie Cargill was born into a musical family. His grandmother was Hattie Mae Tyler Cargill, a noted Kentucky singer of traditional ballads. She was the last of the Tylers, a family noted for being strict preservationists of the musical traditions passed along for many generations from Northern England /Southern Scotland. The tunes that they sung all used primitive scales. They were unique in their area in that they played instruments along with the ballads and the instruments all used special tunings that allowed the ancient tunes to be played without adding obstrusive notes to the performance.
Acie knows all those scales and tunings and has been recorded for the Library of Congress, singing some of the old songs he knows and playing the 5 string banjo in the Tyler drop-thumb style. He is considered the living master of this style.
The family lived in very secluded areas without electricity and they were not exposed to the newer types of music that swept through the US that featured the piano or the guitar using the 6 string guitar chords that are so prevalent today. In the Tyler music, there are no 3-note chords, just moving modal melodies.
Some of this can be heard on Songs and Ballads of Hattie Mae Tyler Cargill, In The Willow Garden, and Family Gathering (which featured some of the older Tyler musicians and the remants of the Cargill Brothers’ String Band and Acie playing the banjo as a young boy).
His grandfather was Acie Cargill, a fiddler who came to Chicago to play as a fill in musician with the WLS Barn Dance radio show. Many of the old tunes Acie plays were from the elder Acie via his Grandmother Hattie.
Acie’s father was an associate of Woody Guthrie and played harmonica in their jam sessions. Acie said his fondest memories were sneaking out of bed and hiding to hear the music they played late into the night when Woody visited. Acie’s mother was a church organist for 65 years and her instructions to him can be heard in the song Dear Mother ( for example, don’t you ever play gospel music in a tavern).
It was the exposure to Woody (and also his mother’s playing) that led Acie into learning the chorded guitar styles that he usually plays today in his performances. In public Acie plays folk music, bluegrass, old-time standards, traditional country music, progressive country rock, early rock and roll, old-timey, gospel, and he even played bass for contemporary jazz giants Max Brown and Johnny Frigo.
Acie's cousin, the late Henson Cargill, was a national star with his hit song Skip A Rope. And through one of the Tyler women, Acie is related to country giant Willie Nelson.
He also is a prolific songwriter and has recorded over 400 of his songs available on the internet. His music has been heard in almost every country in the world and three times he has been put up for grammy nominations for folk music and his albums have been among the most played music on college and public radio folk music programs.