The Lundberg Brothers - Joined at the Ear,
Neo-traditional dance music, AJL 81996
by Ryan Thomson
I especially enjoyed the scat singing on the Opera Reel. It left me wanting a little more, as
did the brief guest saxophone solo by Eddie Gavras. The entire album featured flavorful
exotic percussion instruments including the Djembe drum and the "Step-a-Tune," a foot
powered rhythm machine favored by Appalachian step dancers.
Did I mention that this was an album of fiddle music? It was indeed a fine collection of high
energy dance tunes played by Arvid Lundin on fiddle/viola, and his "Joined At The Ear"
sidekick Jack Lindberg, on guitar/flute/whistle/Bodhran. They both reside in the state of
Washington, the home of a vigorous western variant of New England traditional dancing.
This long time contra and ceili dancer can attest to the foot stomping drive present in
their celtic flavored music.
Arvid starts out the album with the Irish tune "Swinging on a Gate" played American style,
segues into the American contest fiddle tune: "Billy in the Lowground," and then back into
another Irish tune, "The Golden Keyboard." Just to illustrate his fiddling versatility he
follows up with sets of Irish tunes played in true Irish session style.
There's also some Scandinavian tunes included, along with some nice original tunes: a waltz
and reel by Arvid. Jack's contribution of rock solid guitar accompaniment tightly fits Arvid's
fiddling. Other contributors on the album include caller Dave Smith on zarb/bones, Rick
Rubin on Djembe, Nancy Lindberg on Bodhran, John Watinson on whistle, Eugene Jablonsky
on bass, and Loretta Decker on the Step-a-tune.
Most of the tunes on the album are of Irish origin, and are right out of the "top 100"
common session repertoire. They represent the natural evolution of celtic dance music in
this country which is to put a little more of the "personality" of the players into the tunes
rather than staying in a "plain vanilla" session mold. This individual color makes the album
particularly good for repeated listening, despite knowing that all of the Irish tunes have
been recorded many times previously by others.
Even though the album includes the word "Neo" in the title, I sense that the players are
sailing in the present mainstream of american traditional contra dance music. And some
excellent players they are!
Addendum: January 25, 2001, From: Jack Lindberg
Thanks for the review of the Lundberg Brothers CD. Yes, we're still out there playing, even
though I live in Pennsylvania and the boys live in WA State. Here is a link to my site where
the CD can be purchased and an amalgum of other information exists. My next projects
include a Celtic Ensemble from Allegheny College, a new band with a decidedly Scottish
twist and a solo flute recording.
Travelling Lundberg Brothers
Written by Ryan Thomson, 1999