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Leaving Eden

by: Carolina Chocolate Drops

Album Artwork

(Nonesuch Records)

Leaving Eden follows the Carolina Chocolate Drops Grammy-winning 2010 release Genuine Negro Jig. This North Carolina group has earned well-deserved respect for their old time music.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops have opened for Taj Mahal, Bob Dylan and recently their song "Daughter's Lament' became a part of The Hunger Games soundtrack. Earlier this month, the Drops performed at Carnegie Hall for a tribute to The Rolling Stones. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are a musical wonder, and they epitomize the spirit of Swampland.

Leaving Eden opens with the banjo-fiddle laced "Riro's House", which sounds as if it were recorded at a bayou jamboree during sunset far away in a black water swamp. A lazy sounding "Kerr's Negro Jig" emerges as a minute-long banjo instrumental. Rhiannon Giddens sings "Ruby, Are You Mad At Your Man?" with a sultry abandon. "Boodle-De-Bum-Bum" sounds like a cross between Blind Willie McTell and the Memphis Jug Band at their most lighthearted.

"Country Girl" counts as one of the finest compositions on Leaving Eden. "Run Mountain" sounds like an Appalachian outlaw song where rural folk take good care of their own. The title track retains a sweet soul that defines why this group is where they are now. "Read Em John" was an old song the slaves and even later the Georgia Sea Island Singers rendered many years ago. "Mahalla" demonstrates this group's excellent musicianship in all its diversity--especially multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons.

"West End Blues" contains an echo of that proverbial high lonesome sound. With talented male and female band members, the Carolina Chocolate Drops emit a potent energy between the yan and the yang. "Briggs' Cornshucking Jig/Camptown Hornpipe" counts as a countryside instrumental where melody evokes visual landscapes. Rhiannon Giddens sings the final track, "Pretty Bird", a capella. Leaving Eden represents the work of one of this generation's most talented musical ensembles.

James Calemine

related tags

North Carolina,
Mystery and Manners,


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