Songlines Reviews Corn Potato String Band Volume Two

Review by Doug DeLoach in Songlines

Spuddy a-maize-ing

Next time you’re thinking about hosting a square dance or a hoedown, give the Corn Potato String Band a holler. Sticking with the formula that worked on the band’s eponymously-titled, debut album, this sequel stars the same award-winning trio: Aaron Jonah Lewis (fiddle, banjo, guitar, vocals), who has appeared on dozens of recordings playing bluegrass, old-time, swing jazz, modern experimental and Turkish classical music; Lindsay McCaw fiddle, guitar, banjo, Hawaiian steel, vocals), an Americana performer and bona fide dance caller of some 15 years; and Ben Belcher (banjo, guitar) who has been a regular at Edinburgh Fringe with The Hot Seats and performed at the Shetland Folk Festival.

What sets the music of the Corn Potato String Band apart is a deeply pervasive strain of soulful spontaneity, which so many similar groups seek but never manage to find. From hootenanny send-ups such as ‘Raleigh and Spencer’ and twin-fiddling showcases like ‘Russian Rag’ and gospel-tinged toe-tappers like ‘Little Black Train’, the Corn Potato String Band reel with virtuosic swagger, never letting sentimentality or historiography get in the way of a wailing good tune.