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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Strange Cousin (Evergreene)

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It's a snapshot of New York, the photo of TriBeCaStan on the back cover of the duo's CD debut. Milwaukee expatriate John Kruth leans against the railing of a bridge, a bohemian cradling an obscure string instrument from an Eastern land. At his side, Jeff Greene, natty in bow tie and white suit, bows a fiddle of uncertain provenance. With dinars earned on street corners, Kruth and Greene have assembled a like-minded cast of musicians for their recorded journey along a Silk Road of the imagination.

The all-instrumental Strange Cousin is a logical outgrowth of previous Kruth albums on tracks that explore droning tonalities and frisky bazaar beats. No mere exercise in exoticism, the material works as songs, the traditional music of a make-believe land, enriched by intriguing combinations of mandolin and Moldavian kaval, penny whistle and wooden flutes and instruments better known in these parts to ethnomusicologists than anyone else.