Oak Leaf 2114 - 2002

Plenty of common threads run throughout , strands that weave in and out of this extraordinary tapestry of Americana. There's the finger-style guitar music of Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis, Elizabeth Cotton, Doc Watson and John Fahey, imaginatively arranged, deftly executed and ranging in tone from the spiritual to the brooding. There's the unmistakable string-woven allure of tunes for the ages, be it the quaint and four-square Shaker perennial "Simple Gifts" or the racing and witty "Shady Grove."

Still, nothing is more consistently apparent than the beautifully honed musicianship displayed by the duo and its guests. Barnes and Hampton are well known for their inspired handiwork. But because this setting is more rootsy than rarefied, they demonstrate their always graceful and seemingly intuitive rapport while playing guitars, Celtic harp, banjo, mandolin, mountain dulcimer and uilleann pipes in ways that eloquently summon a wealth of homespun sounds. Small wonder the album appears half as long as it actually is. -- Mike Joyce, The Washington Post

Listen to Simple Gifts

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