Matt Turner, Peg & Bill Carrothers
The Voices That Are Gone: The Music of Stephen Foster (Illusions)
Is it an insult to makers of improvised music to say that their work sounds composed? Appleton improv cellist Matt Turner joins Michigan vocalist Peg Carrothers and her husband, Bill, on piano for 12 reworked songs by America's first great popular songwriter, Stephen Foster. Especially on those pieces where Peg Carrothers adds her angelic tones to the mix, the confluence is almost magically emotive. The trio summons textures and ambiance that don't drift too far from the familiar versions while adding new resonance to the numbers. The effect straddles the folk-pop-classical strata in an imaginative manner that can't shake the catchiness of the source material-not that the parties involved would have wanted to, I'm guessing.