Let Me Linger
Laura Boosinger Let Me Linger * * * * (and a half) Review from Maverick Magazine I know many people who love Laura Boosinger so much she makes them go weak at the knees. One friend insists she has a voice as pure as Doris Day - and that's close - particularly as she has lashings of sweet and feisty Calamity Jane grit and goodness. Laura is certainly someone blessed with an "essence of the mountains" spirit that can take you back to the good old days when folks used to huddle round the radio, which was frequently hooked up to the battery from the tractor, to hear the latest tunes coming crackling though the speakers. And, that's how this whole wonderful project came together - an urge to recreate some of those times, and pay some long overdue respect to one of her heroes - Luke Smathers. When Asheville's finest old-time banjo gal (that should probably be western North Carolina's, or a much bigger territory even than that) was learning her craft as a student back in the late '70s, David Holt introduced her to The Luke Smathers Band, a typical Southern Appalachian family group in many respects, but distinctively different (almost eccentric) too. What set them apart was a desire to break out and express themselves as few others were doing. Like the competition, it was the fiddle tunes that provided the stock for the soup but, for added spice (and many didn't like it), they had absorbed and interpreted big band numbers and the dance band "pop" of the Twenties, Thirties and Forties to make them very different indeed. By the mid-80s Laura summoned up enough courage to wheedle her way into the band's Sunday night "practice sessions". A month later, she was playing banjo in the band, and that's how it was for the next thirteen years. It is fitting, then that she leads us on to the floor for this extra-special barn dance with a typical piece of Boosinger bomp, her hot new band ripping it up big time with the Appalachian standard, Sally Ann. What follows, I promise, is unlike anything you will encounter anywhere. So, when 2005 IBMA -guitarist of the year' happens to be a good buddy (and fellow Asheville citizen), Bryan Sutton, and another of the hot new kids on the block - fiddler, mandolin player and picker extraordinaire Josh Goforth - gets excited enough to want to be part of it, what develops is more like a session to end all sessions. She may rightly be highly regarded for her need-another-fix-of vocal style and clawhammer banjo flair, but in this company, the stakes are raised to a level that brings her into the kind of circle where Tim O'Brien, Dirk Powell and Jerry Douglas occasionally join hands. What's especially satisfying about this is that Sutton, Goforth and bassist Amanda Luther have all come through the same soaking-it-all-up-in-college background as they did. So here, she introduces a new generation to "standards" such as those the Smathers Band performed in the 1930s including Whispering, Alabama Jubilee, Up A Lazy River, I Love You So Much It Hurts Me, Dinah and Darkness of The Delta. Check out this album and get set to have yourself a helluva time. LT.