This album is thematic (with its companion, Unfortunate Rake, Volume 1), comparing the frenzied greed of the goldrush in 1849 to the dot-com greed of 1999. The cover and extensive liner notes feature vintage photos by Julia Margaret Cameron, one of the first female Victorian photographers.
This album is the last to feature the original Crooked Jades lineup: Jeff Kazor (guitar/dulcimer/Hammond organ/mortar & pestle/vocals), Lisa Berman (dobro/Hawaiian slide/banjo/baritone ukulele/vocals), Tom Lucas (banjo/minstrel banjo/banjo uke/single quill/vocals), Adam Tanner (fiddle/mandolin) and Stephanie Prausnitz (fiddle/vocals).
Special guest is co-producer Richard Buckner who sings and plays piano, tiple and baritone ukulele throughout the album including the little-known Hank Williams song Heaven Holds All My Treasures and the haunting Old Man Below and harmony on Love Creek .
Other special guests are Foghorn Stringband members Kevin Sandri (who plays bass on most tracks) and Stephen Lind (banjo/banjo ukulele), as well as Mayne Smith on pedal steel, Michael Ismerio of The Dickel Brothers on fiddle and former Jades Dan Lynn and Dave Bamberger on bass.
The Crooked Jades are on a mission to reinvent old-world music for a modern age,
pushing boundaries and blurring categories with their fiery, soulful performances.
Innovative, unpredictable and passionate, they bring their driving dance tunes and haunting ballads
to rock clubs, festivals, traditional folk venues and concert halls across America and Europe.
Known for their rare and obscure repertoire, beautiful original compositions, inspired arrangements
and eclectic (mostly vintage) instrumentation, The Crooked Jades began with band leader and founder Jeff Kazor’s vision to revive the dark and hypnotic sounds of pre-radio music. With this old-time foundation, the band has created the unique Crooked Jades sound by exploring the roots of Americana and interweaving the diverse musical influences of
the European and African immigrants who came to the new world. Filtering these old-world sounds with
universal and ancient themes through a post 9/11 lens they seek to make sense of the future.
They call this old-world music.
A blend of West and East Coast pickers with equal parts attitude and respect,
The Crooked Jades are unlike any other old-time band, performing with a thrilling energy
that has audiences on their feet dancing and critics comparing them to everyone from
the New Lost City Ramblers and The Pogues to Gillian Welch and Tom Waits.
The Crooked Jades have 4 critically-acclaimed CDs including "The Unfortunate Rake Volume 1" and "The Unfortunate Rake, Vol. 2: Yellow Mercury" co-produced by alt-country’s Richard Buckner and "Seven Sisters: A Kentucky Portrait", the soundtrack to an award-winning PBS documentary film.
2004’s 5 song-EP foreshadows the brand new CD "World's On Fire" expected in February 2006 which features the current lineup of the band:
Jeff Kazor (guitar/ukulele/vocals), Jennie Benford of Jim & Jennie & The Pinetops (mandolin/guitar/vocals), Adam Tanner (fiddle/mandolin/vocals), Megan Adie (bass/vocals)
and Erik Pearson (banjo/banjo uke/minstrel banjo/slide guitar/vocals).
Old-Time Is Not A Crime. www.crookedjades.com
"The Jades are closer in spirit to Nick Cave or Tom Waits than to most other modern bluegrass acts" Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, San Francisco
"Old-time is enjoying a tremendous national revival, partly due to smart young bands like The Crooked Jades, Olabelle, the Duhks, the Reeltime Travelers, Uncle Earl, the Mammals, and Boston’s own Crooked Still. But even more, it’s hot because it has existed almost entirely underground for years, preserved as a fun-loving social music, with a fiercly anti-commercial, anti-star vibe that pop-weary young people are eating up with an oaken spoon." Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe
"Wild, wooly, totally unpredictable but always tasteful, soulful. They’ve got chords in unexpected places, out of this world harmonies and some of the most powerfully arranged material I’ve ever encountered." Bluegrass Breakdown
"The Crooked Jades are the perfect combination of fresh energy and raw antiquity, staying so true to the old stuff you feel like you’re hearing ghosts of the past. Yet their performance is vibrant enough that at one point I actually had an honest to goodness religious experience."
"Old-time string music that might appeal as much to the pierced generation as to their great-grandparents, the Crooked Jades are a band of West Coast pickers with equal parts attitude and respect. They transform a form of music that thrives on energy by replacing the coal with musical nukes, along the way evoking the music's original purpose by making the listener want to get up and dance."
Dave Royko, Chicago Tribune
"The Crooked Jades have brought me back to believing that original thinkers still exist." Louisville Music News
"They inject a real love and devotion to this ambitious album... play with abandon and sing with conviction... an eloquent look back at some wonderfully storied music." Dirty Linen
"Had the producers of the Cold Mountain soundtrack looked here for inspiration rather than to Sting, Elvis Costello, and the White Stripes, their product would have been infinitely stronger." Red Deer Advocate, Canada
"This string-driven San Francisco-based trad outfit is one of the best of the new generation of string bands, infusing old-time hillbilly standards and originals with remarkable verve." Strings
"Like fellow Californians Gillian Welch and Creedence Clearwater Revival, San Francisco's Crooked Jades discovered that their roots lie in the hills and swamplands of the Southeast, and have convinced the masses of their questionable lineage with an authenticity that rivals their Smithsonian Folkways heroes." AMG-All Music Guide
"Superb originals; stellar fun." Sing Out
"The Crooked Jades are giving old-time music a shot in the arm." Green Man Review
"When I've seen them, they've totally rocked, their ethic firmly grounded in punk, swagger, spit, & vinegar. They might play period instruments & use traditional arrangements but their performances are from a modern POV." Intheagora.com
"Bearing vintage instruments, the Jades combine original songs with found material in a striking recreation of 19th & early 20th century old-time music. This is a band that's as comfortable in the distant past as in the here-and-now."
"Lovely music, packed with obscure old-time nuggets and heart-poking originals." Time Out, New York
"All the flair (and more) of the Be Good Tanyas...All the edgy charm of The Handsome Family..." Maverick, UK
"A superlative example of American folk art."
"The entire audience was clapping and hooting and generally forgetting to act cool during every song the 'Jades tore through." Playing in Fog.com
"Instrumentally they are also red hot, playing the old tunes with drive and respect." Froots Magazine
"A wonderful, artfully complete project, far and away better than almost anything you’re ever likely to hear on the radio. This will give you a lot of listening pleasure, and perhaps some discomfort too. This is as it should be."
Old Time Herald
"A seamless blend of American roots music that absorbs bluegrass, country, and early string band styles with remarkable fluidity, the Jades have developed a sound that's far more rich and interesting than the "olde-timey" groups they're unfortunately often lumped in with. It's their arrangements and choice of instrumentation that puts them over the edge." SF Weekly
"The Jades play with a passion and depth that has even jaded old-time fans standing up and saluting. Following in the footsteps of The New Lost City Ramblers, the Jades are acoustic revivalists who have made mountain music their own." East Bay Express
"Produced by idiosyncratic Americana artist Richard Buckner, the sounds they conjure are edgy, haunting and unpredictable."