This remarkable collection, finely curated by Martin Simpson and Thomm Jutz, is onn paper, a worthy collection of contemporary singers tackling traditional Appalachian songs, but on listening, it is also an invigorating, inspiring, and downright beautiful experience.
As the album’s source, the songs are taken from Cecil Sharp’s 1916 and 1918 collection of ‘English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians’, focusing on those from singers Mary Sands and Jane Gentry.
Nashville-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter Thomm Jutz—who also has a Masters in Appalachian studies—and English artist, songwriter, and guitarist Martin Simpson provide the binding glue throughout Nothing But Green Willow, and it’s in their love of the tradition and studied knowledge that the album is allowed to shine.
The result is a magnificent transatlantic experiment, wholly in keeping with the history and exchange of the original songs. Throughout Nothing But Green Willow, the songs take centre stage with Simpson and Jutz keen to highlight the contemporaneous nature of their words: “The stories and messages in these songs are as important today as they were hundreds of years ago”, notes Jutz, Tantamount to this is the fact that these are timeless songs and the stories they tell remain profoundly relevant to us today.