"This is outstanding, powerful, exhilarating, controlled singing in anybody’s book."
fRoots, UK, by Vic Smith
This is outstanding, powerful, exhilarating, controlled singing in anybody’s book. Here is a man with an enormously wide involvement with music that ranges from teaching ethnomusicology at universities in eastern Europe as well as in the USA, through a deep knowledge of subjects as diverse as shape note singing and the traditional song of the Balkans, to playing with Cordelia’s Dad as well as top punk outfits. It can be seen that Eriksen’s music is never meant to be easy listening yet the majesty and control when he sings the likes of “A Soldier Travelling from the North” makes for exhilarating listening.
He tells us that these songs and ballads took one hour to record and many years to prepare. Recorded in one unedited take (in a Benedictine abbey in Poland!), many are versions that have crossed the Atlantic: ballads such as “The Gallows Tree,” “Two Babes,” “Lass of Glenshee,” “John Randolph” and “Drowsy Sleeper.” Some of them have lyrics that are close to British versions but all the melodies have been fashioned in that distinctive “high lonesome” modal sound that is so characteristic. They are tunes that speak of hardship.
Though we often hear Tim singing to his own accompaniment on fiddle, banjo, guitar etc., these are all unaccompanied and sung in an uncompromising way that can be both harsh and beautiful.