Updated Dec 5, 2023
The Lundberg Brothers - Joined at the Ear,
Neo-traditional dance music, AJL 81996
by Ryan Thomson
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 amalgam 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