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That's the Grammy-award winning artist, David Holt, with a smidjin of one of his mountain music classics, "Little Log Cabin in the Lane," from his Grandfather's Greatest Hits. It's National Grandparents Day this coming Sunday, and I can't imagine a better kind of celebration of that event than one that has finger-picking in it from Holt and the other grandfathers, honorary and real, like Doc Watson, Duane Eddy, and Chet Atkins -- who harmonize with him on this and his other CDs.
Holt has dedicated his career to making old timey music around the country, at festivals and workshops, in school assemblies, and on television and radio. He's the master of a clutch of instruments that includes the banjo and guitar, the ukelele, harmonica, autoharp, jaw harp, the bones, the spoons, and that most basic of all percussive instruments, hands slapping on blue jeans. Many of the traditional songs that he plays -- like "Cripple Creek" and "Wildwood Flower" -- are versions he has rescued from obscure 78 recordings by such luminaries from the country pantheon as Roy Acuff, the Carter Family, and Fiddlin' John Carson.
Holt's songs are a joyous introduction to traditional American folk music, presented in an infectiously up-tempo, polished way; lovingly restored to its original, sole-scuffed luster. Holt is a dynamic live performer, and one of his most receptive audiences is children, to whom he passes on this playful, durable music (like grandfathers have been doing since the opening chords of time) with generous good spirits. Here he is with his pal Steven Heller, struggling to get through the rollicking "I Got a Bullfrog" without cracking up. This is one for all you grandparents out there (and any grandchildren who may listening ) -- and I dare you to try not tapping your toes!
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Copyright 2006© John Cech
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Monday, 28-Aug-2006 14:54:25 EDT