Sure As You're Born
Adam Tanner's 'Sure as You're Born' is a fresh sonic exploration and celebration of early recorded American music. Bringing together Ragtime, Hokum, Hillbilly and Gospel, Tanner combines Blues and Pre-Blues song forms with string band instrumentation to paint an aural picture of forgotten sounds and styles that were some of the earliest roots of Jazz and Rock and Roll. Researchers of the early blues such as Paul Oliver, have written about styles and instrumentation heard from plantations and farms in the rural countryside to speakeasys and juke joints in cities like Memphis, Atlanta and Nashville. Artists such as Muddy Waters, Rev. Gary Davis, and Yank Rachell recalled the days of their youth, when they played in string bands where fiddles, mandolins and banjos were as common as guitars and harmonicas. At the same time, traveling Medicine Shows featured the sounds of early Jazz which can be heard on recordings by artists such as Tommy Bradley and James Cole, Clifford Hayes, and the legendary Memphis Jug Band. In the early part of 20th century, music was not separated into catagories by race. This changed as the recording industry began to separate music created by African American artists into the 'Race' record category and recordings by white musicians into the 'Hillbilly' record category. The music of early white artists such as Frank Hutchison, The Allen Brothers, and Sam and Kirk McGee have a strong connection to this earlier time, when such distinctions were not made. Perhaps the best example of early African American styles mixed with early anglo string band sounds is the music of the Mississippi Shieks. The Shieks' repetoire had heavy doses of Blues, Ragtime and string band sounds. The Mississippi Shieks, along with Bo Chatmon (Carter), who recorded mainly as a soloist, played for both white and black audiences, rising above the marketing distinctions created by record companies. Adam Tanner has fused his knowledge of this musical history with his vocal and instrumental skills to create a recording that is both joyful and soulful; true to the orginal spirit without being bound by it. 'Sure as You're Born' stands out from a host of 'modern' interpretations which are far removed from the source or just clinical 'guitar tablature inspired' imitations of these recordings. Tanner unearths infrequently heard sounds and material and adds his own early blues inspired originals. In the world of acoustic blues, this recording moves onto a less travelled back road where emotion runs deep and music is meant to be felt in addition being heard.