2 CDs, and over two hours of music, make this an epic project.
The All Originals CD consists of 27 Ken Waldman new tunes, all instrumentals. Here, Ken is accompanied by four terrific multi-instrumentalists: Jerry Hagins from Austin, Jordan Wankoff from Chicago, and Lousiana musicians Hogie Siebert and Mitch Reed. Recorded in January 2005 in Cecilia, Louisiana at Al Berard Recording Studio, there are sorts of arrangements, from fiddle and banjo, to twin fiddle and twin banjo and bass, to a more conventional twin fiddle and banjo and guitar and bass, all the way to four fiddles with a banjo. The result is exciting, surprising, and satisfying.
The All Traditionals CD consists of 27 tracks of fiddle and banjo, Ken again accompanied by Jerry Hagins. On several tunes they're joined by Joe Karson on guitar and Phil Cassel on bass, the rhythm section from that fine Fairbanks old-time band, Five-Buck Fiddle. This was recorded in Fairbanks in June 2004 at Pat Fitzgerald's and Robin Dale Ford's Tenth Planet Records. Of note is the 10+ minute version of the tune, Tater Patch, where Ken tells the story of his 1996 plane wreck, poems included.
And any discussion of the CD has to include the work by graphic designer Kathy McInnis of Breaux Bridge. The cover has one of the most unusual concert announcements you'll ever see, and inside there's a 24-page booklet that includes 31 poems and comprehensive notes.