River of Time
Currently on tour with both the electric and acoustic versions of Hot Tuna, the band he formed with bassist Jack Casady when they were the heart of The Jefferson Airplane back in the ’70s, Jorma Kaukonen has just released River of Time, an all-acoustic collection of songs that showcases his virtuoso fingerpicking. Accompanied by some of his current Hot Tuna bandmates—but minus Casady—Jorma works his way through 13 songs (six of them originals), all done in a very traditional style. The title track, a rumination on death set to a cheery rhythm, opens thusly: “A river of time, it marks our life / …There is no sound of tolling bells / The task on earth is living well.” Roy Book Binder’s “Another Man Done a Full Go Round” also deals with death: “who comes a-creepin’ up by your side.” Not all is gloom, however! The Grateful Dead’s “Operator” (penned by Ron “Pigpen” McKernan) is a bouncy ditty with some sweet mandolin and delicious Dobro by tourmates Barry Mitterhoff and Larry Campbell, plus some sensuous guitar from Kaukonen. The Delmore Brothers’ “Nashville Blues” also gets a rousing treatment while “Izze’s Lullaby” features Campbell’s fiddle work. There’s a lot to savor here: lovely music beautifully recorded.