By Kelly Marie Martin


The facts first: Foghorn Duo's Lonesome Song is an album of duets from Stephen "Sammy" Lind and Caleb Klauder of Foghorn Stringband. The songs are a first-class collection of traditional, classic country and original pieces of music drawn from the old time fiddle tunes, ballads and songs--the roots of American "roots" music. There's even a tune penned by Caleb and without looking at the cover, you'd never know. Foghorn Stringband may be in a transformative stage, but once you hear this album, you'll not doubt that these two fellas, at least, never stop playing. I mean never. And, Oh! Their voices! By far their two voices ringing together in song is so good I can think of none better today. There's a saltiness and quality that just makes you want to sing out with them. The kick off track My Horses Ain't Hungry, Old Love Letters, and Lonesome Song, the title track for starters will just prove it. You'll just end up like me, with the songs on loop. Lonesome Song has me imagining fiddler, Sammy and mandolin player, Caleb sitting in a living room with all their favorite instruments on stands or chairs or couches or tabletops, microphones in the middle, a jug of something tasty nearby and tongues waggin' as they swap tunes, songs, tales and axes. It's that easy. Or at least that's how it sounds--the results of all that time playing, listening and playing some more. Recorded and mastered by Billy Oskay at Big Red Studios and produced by Caleb and Sammy, Lonesome Song is one wicked way to mark the day, April 9th, the day on which it was made. Brian Bagondonas, bass player from Foghorn designed and printed the simple and beautiful black with silver ink packaging at Stumptown Printers. The invitation from the birds and banners is just the beginning.

The feeling second: Each track is a duo indeed hand-tailored to the needs of the tune or song. The pairing of voice and the instrument choice reflect a deep keeping in chord with the source (sited next to each song title on the CD--as they say on the CD, "All songs are inspired and/or written by the artists following the track title,") and a compatibility that just can't be bought. Little Black Train, with it's banjo/guitar or the double guitars on Billy Gray for example, just stand to showcase the instrument chops of the two fellas from Foghorn who've usually got you buckdancing with their fiddle and mandolin twin fiddle sound of yore. And yes, Lonesome Song's got fiddle tunes with Sammy and fiddle tunes with Caleb on his mandolin the other trading in to accompany on the guitar. This is something I really think: this album should win a Grammy. Caleb and Sammy should be American idols. Their names should fall off the lips of those who lament the loss of the Louvin/Carter/Stanley Brothers as two voices who follow in that strong line. It's history and tradition and respect and love and joy for the old-time good time that can be had with acoustic instruments and a buddy. The quality of music and voices together is just that good. Top Forty? In an ideal world, no problem. So here's what I say: buy this album twice--once for yourself and next for another and pass the good songs along.

Kelly Marie Martin plays guitar and sings in Los Angeles' old-time stringband Triple Chicken Foot. She came to old-time when the drummer in her indie/punk/folk rock band quit and while at a BBQ at Walter Spencer's house he offered her the upright bass. Three weeks later she was jamming in a living room with Foghorn along with her soon-to-be husband, Ben Guzman on mandolin, Walter and fiddler Barb Hansen. She hasn't looked back since. Blame it on the strawberry margaritas? and