Back Home In Sulphur Springs

Perhaps most widely known for his rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, bluegrass singer, guitarist and assorted string player Norman Blake has been at it for years, having played, for instance, as a sideman with the likes of June Carter, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Four of Blake’s albums were made with wife Nancy, who also sings and plays guitar, cello and mandolin, and have received Grammy nominations for Best Traditional Folk Album. Back Home in Sulphur Springs was recorded in Colorado Springs in a room in a warehouse studio next to the railroad tracks furnished with the Blakes’ “favorite old mics, no baffles, and two straight back wooden chairs.” They went back later and only minimally laid extra tracks over what the two of them had done. The result is a relaxed, authentic ride through old-timey tunes, mostly traditional, like “More Good Women Gone Bad” and “The Girl I Left In Sunny Tennessee.” Nancy’s altered take on the “Star Spangled Banner,” which she plays on mandolin, is sweetly done.