"Soon Be Time" by Bruce Molsky

Bruce Molsky

Soon Be Time

Compass Records

4 stars (out of 5)
Like the memories Molsky alludes to in the liner notes, these songs are wistful and simple. And this album is sparse, but not monotonous, a collection of tunes rooted in Old Time favorites (“Lazy John/The Bucking Mule,” “Cider,” “John Brown’s Dream”) with some Bulgarian and Swedish Rock melodies thrown in as well as one newly written song from Molsky himself.

Molsky is alone on all tracks, whether singing or playing guitar, fiddle, or banjo, and he does not attempt to dress up his playing. Straightforwardly and genuinely, he offers no-nonsense performances of classics and lesser-heard melodies from traditions as varied as blues, Irish, Bulgarian, and Swedish.

There’s an old-time flavor to the cowboy song “Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie,” and to the presumed Irish melody “Georgia Belle.” There are nods to Molsky’s lifetime of influences and playing partners, such as “The Brass Band Ruchenitsa” a 7/16 tune learned from fellow Mozaic member Andy Irvine, possibly Bulgarian in origin.

Molsky’s gentle touch makes for a serene, unmediated listen, just as if he was sitting across from the listener in a pub, a kitchen, or a front porch playing and singing.

by Katy Leonard