"Klezmer and bluegrass sound as if they were meant to be combined. At least that's the conclusion after listening to this terrific album. Leverett & the Klezmer Mountain Boys have given us a wonderful gift
“Master 're-arranger' Margot Leverett gently whisks listeners from the Black Mountains to Mount Sinai. There is plenty of toe-tapping (if not foot-stomping) fun."
“The Klezmer Mountain Boys will stun and delight you...borscht and grits never tasted so good."
Clarinetist, Margot Leverett & The Klezmer Mountain Boys expand their repertoire beyond Bluegrass and Klezmer, exploring new dimensions of Rock, Jazz, Latin and American folk music. While continuing their unique, hybrid interpretations of standards made famous by Bill Monroe and Dave Tarras, Second Ave. Square Dance features guest appearances by electric guitarist, Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna fame, legendary folk singer Hazel Dickens, banjo virtuoso Tony Trischka and a host of musical friends from around the world, including Darol Anger, David Grier, Mike Marshall, David Licht, Hankus Netsky, Carlos Oliviera, Dudley Connell, Ronnie Simpkins, and Bobby Shankin.
Special Guest - Jorma Kaukonen (of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna fame) explores his Jewish Roots!!
Barry Mitterhoff mandolin,
Kenny Kosek violin,
Marty Confurius bass,
Joe Selly guitar
1. Farmer’s Market
2. Stoney Lonesome
3. Electric Kugel
4. Second Avenue Square Dance
6. Little Moses
7. Sidney’s Tsveyte Bulgar
8. Calgary Reel
9. Geena’s Dream
10. Come Along Jody
13. Mississippi Waltz
14. Lee Highway Blues
15. High Lonesome Honga
16. Abe’s Retreat
17. Zaydn’s Tants
18. Porges Waltz
How did a Rock star, American Folk singer and a host of jazz and folk virtuosos end up on a Klezmer record? Or is it a Klezmer record?!
Jorma Kaukonen plays regularly with mandolinist, Barry Mitterhoff in their trio “Hot Tuna.” When Jorma heard the stuff Barry was doing with The Klezmer Mt. Boys, he was intrigued. Besides, Jorma has Jewish ancestry on his mother’s side which has been until now, musically unexplored. Working with Klezmer clarinetist, Margot Leveret, Kaukonen learned some of the ornaments and stylistic melodies of Klezmer. He combined those with his own rock sensibilities and they came up with a doina (improvisation traditionally played at a Jewish wedding) renamed Electric Kugel (track 3), followed by at traditional sounding bulgar (festive dance) called Farmer’s Market (track 4). Tumbalalika (track 11) showcases Jorma’s slower sensitivity on acoustic guitar.
America’s banjo virtuoso, Tony Trischka has appeared with virtually every Bluegrass musician of note. He is recognized as the teacher of Bela Fleck and is known for appearances on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, From Our Front Porch, and other radio shows. In the late 90s, Trischka teamed up with David Grier, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, and Todd Phillips as “Psychograss” and formed a new band, whose debut album Bend explored yet more territory uncharted by banjo. In January 2007 Tony released, to critical and popular acclaim, Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, featuring new music and performances by a stellar line-up of musicians including Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck and even the multi-talented Steve Martin. On April 26, 2007, he performed live on The Late Show With David Letterman with Steve Martin and BÈla Fleck. That year, he won his three nominations at the International Bluegrass Music Awards; for Album of the Year, Recorded Event of the Year and Banjo Player of the Year. This was some long-deserved recognition for Tony and marked a homecoming to the bluegrass community. As a friend of the Klezmer Mt. Boys, he graces many tunes with stunning banjo solos including Bill Monroe’s Stoney Lonesome (track 2) & Tex Logan’s Come Along Jody (track 10).
Hazel Dickens, one of America’s foremost Bluegrass singers became nationally renowned when she was featured in the documentary “Harlan County USA.” Born in 1935 in West Virginia, she became known for her pro-union, feminist songs, besides one of the few women band leaders in Bluegrass with two noteworthy albums recorded on Folkways label: "Who's That Knocking (And Other Bluegrass Country Music) (1965)" and "Won't You Come & Sing for Me (1973)" She performs the only vocal song on the CD, Little Moses (track 6) which features her raw, folk style in a religious folk ballad made famous by the Carter family in the 1920’s.
Away by the river so clear,
The ladies were winding their way,
And Pharaoh's little daughter stepped down in the water
To bathe in the cool of the day.
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant was there.
And away by the waters so blue,
The infant was lonely and sad.
She took him in pity and thought him so pretty
, it made little Moses so glad.
She called him her own, her beautiful son
and sent for a nurse that was near.
And away by the river so clear,
They carried the beautiful child,
To his own tender mother, his sister and brother,
Little Moses looked happy and smiled.
His mother so good done all that she could to rear him and teach him with care.
And away by the sea that was red,
Little Moses the servant of God,
While in him confided, the sea was divided,
As upward he lifted his rod.
The Jews safely crossed while Pharaoh's host
was drownded in the waters and lost.
The Jews safely crossed while Pharaoh's host
was drownded in the waters and lost.
And away on the mountain so high,
The last one that ever might see,
While Israel victorious, his hope was most glorious
he'd soon o'er the Jordan be free.
When his labor did cease, he departed in peace
and rested in the Heavens above.
Margot Leverett, (clarinet) is one of the foremost of the new generation of klezmer clarinetists. Classically trained at Indiana University School of Music, she was involved in avant-garde music when she first heard klezmer, the dynamic East European music traditionally played at Jewish weddings. Leverett was a founding member of the Klezmatics in 1985 before moving on to launch a solo career. Her first CD, “The Art of Klezmer Clarinet,” is a tribute to classic Klezmer of the 20’s and 30’s, and was released in 2001 on Traditional Crossroads (CD4296) to glowing reviews. She tours internationally and has performed and taught traditional and original klezmer music at festivals and workshops around the world.
In addition to founding and directing the Klezmer Mountain Boys, Margot Leverett performs with Udi Bar-David and the artists of Intercultural Journeys, a concert and cultural organization to promote intercultural dialogue. They are featured guest artists with the Philadelphia Orchestra this year www.philorch.org. Margot has toured Japan twice with The New York Ragtime Orchestra and has been featured in several Off-Broadway productions.
Leverett was a staff instructor at KlezKamp for over 10 years and has also taught at KlezKanada, Klezkamp West, Klezmerquerque, and at colleges, music festivals, and Jewish organizations across the country. She leads open klezmer jam sessions at her synagogue in Queens www.AstoriaCenter.org and around the world.
Marty Confurius (bass) has appeared with virtually all the top people in both bluegrass and klezmer music. His credits include work with Vassar Clements, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Andy Statman, and klezmer legend Dave Tarras.
Joe Selly (guitar) has appeared with Phoebe Snow, Vassar Clements, Barbara Eden, Melissa Manchester and Tex Logan and toured nationally with the Lombardo Orchestra. He is featured on countless recordings and is in demand as both performer and instructor in bluegrass, jazz and swing.
Kenny Kosek (fiddle) has appeared with Jerry Garcia, John Denver, James Taylor, David Byrne, and his own Angelwood bluegrass band. He appears on numerous recordings, and has published dozens of instructional books. He is the bluegrass instructor for Homespun videos and is well known in Bluegrass, Irish, country western, and rock and roll violin.
Barry Mitterhoff (mandolin/guitar) is a leading figure in bluegrass music as well as klezmer. He has played with Tony Trischka and Skyline, John Gorka, Jorma Kaukonen and Hazel Dickens. He has been a featured performer at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, the White House, the Library of Congress, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival as well as bluegrass festivals across the country and Canada.