Rootbound | Rootbound

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Country: Old-Timey Country: Bluegrass Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by Rootbound

Vocal duets with mandolin and guitar, based in traditional old-time but reaching out and incorporating contemporary and original material from folk and bluegrass in a timeless duo style.
Genre: Country: Old-Timey
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Oh, My Little Darling/Mason's Apron
2:04 album only
2. Dark End of the Street
2:59 album only
3. Are You Lonesome Tonight
3:01 album only
4. There's a Mailbox on the Dark Side of the Moon
3:43 album only
5. I'll Never Grow Tired of You
2:55 album only
6. Fistful of Rain
2:45 album only
7. How Much He Cares
3:19 album only
8. Willie's Last Night
3:14 album only
9. Brazos River Song
3:30 album only
10. Memories That Bless and Burn
2:40 album only
11. Mining Camp Blues
2:31 album only
12. I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
2:40 album only
13. Thousands of Ladies Are Crying
3:50 album only
14. If I Should Fall Behind
2:50 album only
15. Banjo Pickin' Girl
2:11 album only


Album Notes
ROOTBOUND is a duo that takes the traditional sounds of Appalachian old-time, bluegrass, and early country music and brings them into the present. Paying loving tribute to the duet sounds of such seminal groups as the Louvin Brothers and the Stanley Brothers and the wide-ranging repertoire of the Carter Family, singer/guitarist Deb Kauffmann and mandolinist/guitarist/singer Henry Koretzky infuse the classic repertoire with new material drawn from contemporary songwriters.
ROOTBOUND focuses on songs with timeless emotional connections and tight, soulful harmonies. The sound of two voices, mandolin, and guitar has infused American roots music for several decades. Deb and Henry carry on this tradition in a distinctive new-time/old-time mix of love songs, traditional ballads, and original compositions. These are interspersed with hard-driving fiddle tunes, ageless songs like Lily May Ledford's "Banjo Picking Girl," and innovative covers such as "Dark End of the Street" arranged as a Louvin-style waltz.

The tracks on our CD are:

--Oh, My Little Darling: a traditional standard, which we coupled with the fiddle tune "Mason's Apron"

--Dark End of the Street: The Dan Penn classic which we arranged as if it were a Louvin Brothers duet

--Are You Lonesome Tonight: as per The Carter Family's version of this song, which was originally a popular radio hit of the mid 1920s

--There's a Mailbox on the Dark Side of the Moon: written by the brilliant Long Island songwriter Martha Trachtenberg, with a languid arrangement

--I'll Never Grow Tired of You: from the Stanley Brothers, where old-time and bluegrass meet

--Fistful of Rain: a radical re-arrangement of a Warren Zevon/Jorge Calderon song which the late Zevon once referred to as a "Buddhist gospel song," inspiring this old-timey rendition

--How Much He Cares: written by Deb Kauffmann, a much more traditional gospel number

--Willie's Last Night: one of Henry's originals, written as a rejoinder to the long-running tradition of murder ballads; an attempt to present the victim's point-of-view

--Brazos River Song: a cowboy ballad

--Memories That Bless and Burn: a duet rendition of this powerful song written by Suzanne Thomas, the former singer with Dry Branch Fire Squad and The Hotmud Family

--Mining Camp Blues: our homage to Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, and honoring an old-time repertoire that can include a tune first recorded by a blues singer in 1926 on a record featuring Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson

--I Wonder Where You Are Tonight: one of our favorite bluegrass standards, this minor-key arrangement endeavours to increase the lonesome quotient of the song

--Thousands of Ladies Are Crying: a Civil War ballad written by Deb Kauffmann with her husband, George Sharp

If I Should Fall Behind: a Bruce Springsteen composition that always sounded like he'd modelled it in The Carter Family tradition

Banjo Pickin' Girl: concluding the album with a Coon Creek Girls standard



to write a review

Joe Ross

A rustic purity that preserves the very essence of traditional duos
Playing Time – 44:12 -- Rootbound is a duo that emphasizes straightforward rhythm guitar and mandolin picking, good harmony, and solid song selection from the old-time, bluegrass, cowboy, and early country music canon. Deb Kauffmann (guitar, vocals) and Henry Koretzky (mandolin, guitar, vocals) hail from Pennsylvania. Deb has studied under singers Ginny Hawker and Dede Wyland, and she has performed with the Back Burner String Band, Ladies in the Parlor, Late for Supper, and with singer/guitarist Jamie O'Brien. Henry has performed in both bluegrass and klezmer bands such as Cornerstone, Sweetwater Reunion, High Strung, and The Old World Folk Band. He’s also accompanied singer-songwriters and plays contradance, Celtic and swing music with such groups as Contra Rebels, Gnu Tones, Sink or Swing, Sweet Nothings, Late for Supper, and with fiddler Ryck Kaiser.

Rootbound’s CD recalls a classic sound of yesteryear when brother duos or husband/wife duos were commonplace. While Rootbound draws repertoire from A.P. Carter, The Stanley Brothers, The Coon Creek Girls, and other traditional sources, they also offer more contemporary songs that stylistically fit their presentation. One example is “Fistful of Rain,” that has been described as “a Buddhist gospel song” with the advice to “grab ahold of that fistful of rain.” They also give a raw-boned interpretation of Bruce Springsteen’s “If I Should Fall Behind” that seems to work for the duo, perhaps due to the song’s Carter Family influences. “There's a Mailbox on the Dark Side of the Moon” was written by brilliant Long Island songwriter Martha Trachtenberg. And “Dark End of the Street” is a Dan Penn classic which Rootbound creatively arranged as if it were a Louvin Brothers duet. “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight” undergoes radical tempo and melodic revision to a minor key.

Both Kauffmann and Koretzky offer some originals. Deb’s “How Much He Cares,” the first song she wrote, provides us with good advice for dealing with life’s trials and travails. Henry’s “Willie’s Last Night” is a murder ballad as told by “sisters-in-blood” who have no mercy for their murderer’s fate. “Thousands of Ladies are Crying” is a ¾-time song written by Deb and her husband about a Civil War battle known as Pickett’s Charge.

Many albums today are over-produced (“slickened”) to the point that songs become formulaic and too sanitized. Rootbound, on the other hand, strives for a rustic purity that preserves the very essence of traditional duos. Their set is visceral, with a profound impact on our gut. Delivered with earnest effort and considerable personality, I was surprised that Rootbound’s fiddle-less rendition of “Mason’s Apron” and banjo-less version of “Banjo Pickin’ Girl” actually work. The reason is that they are simply free of frills and wanting to preserve a musical heritage. The duo’s moniker and their music tell us that they are making a conscious effort to capture traditional sounds that have stirred and excited us for generations, while simultaneously expanding the repertoire to keep it from becoming literally “rootbound.” (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)