The Mutineers, an acoustic music trio which has been in the thick of the traditionalist revival in southern Maine for a number of years, have released their second CD, called 'Coal Creek.' This record is a mix of traditional and original songs ranging from a unique and soulful arrangement of "Barbara Allen" to contemporary pieces which deal frankly with the heartache of loss as well as the redemptions of love and family. The Mutineers' founder and lead vocalist, Stuart MacDonald, demonstrates an uncanny knack for taking the basic idea of an old tune - "The Cuckoo," for example - and giving it a transfusion through new lyrics and fresh arrangement. MacDonald commented on his approach to songwriting: "The depth and beauty in traditional folk music is what got me playing and singing in the first place. This music can't fade away and it informs everything I do as a musician. It's natural that it would start to inform and inspire me when dabbling in writing as well. Both to add to something old and to create something new within that tradition; that's the goal." Many of the songs on the album, though, are entirely original. The title cut, "Coal Creek," is a good example of MacDonald's songwriting, and "Whiskey Road," a collaborative effort from MacDonald and band mate Jeff Trippe, is one man's hard-headed look back at his checkered past. Guest artist Charlie Gaylord's classic-country Telecaster guitar solo gives the song just the right amount of grit. As far as instrumentation on the rest of the record, it is - as the band likes to say - "100 percent acoustic." Trippe handles most of the lead work on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle, while MacDonald's vocals, intertwined with his blues-based mouth-harp playing, is alternately gruff or mournful, blunt or mellifluous. Upright bassist Rod Pervier's impeccable timing is the heartbeat of the project, and both Trippe and Pervier add harmony vocals. In addition to Gaylord, guest artists include fiddler Hope Hoffman, slide player Kevin Midgley, dobroist Ben MacDonald, and Kim and Alan Bean.
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