Matewan Music: Three Appalachian Folksongs (1995)
1. Copper Kettle
2. Wildwood Flower
3. Long Black Veil
These were meant to be simple arrangements of three Appalachian folk songs, but they turned out to be rather intricate: simpler isn't always clearer. Certainly one could have merely embedded "Copper Kettle," a deliciously comic moonshiner's manifesto, in these or those idiomatic chords: but why stop there, if the chorus can themselves become the burbling still, the stealthy loggers, the drunken townsfolk in the pale moonlight? "Wildwood Flower," a lament so unguarded it stops the breath, needed only the plainest triads, only a sustained A-natural wandering ceaselessly from voice to voice as if in search of the abandoning lover, to frame it; but "Long Black Veil," a deadpan confession from beyond the grave of a how his married lover, by keeping silent, sent him wrongly to the gallows and promptly went mad with grief well, how can you set that without including the vengeful prosecutors, the whistling winds, and the deranged vocalise of the guilty woman? Or all of them at once?