Steamboat In A Cornfield
Vocalists, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Katie Euliss and Mike West borrowed the title of their latest project from a true-to-life children’s book by the late folk, country and bluegrass composer John Hartford (it’s also the basis for the eye-catching wraparound CD cover) and his carefree spirit gleams like a good spit-shine from the duo’s music. Itself inspired by heavy doses of Midwestern bluegrass and music hall jazz and spiked with vaudeville wit and a slightly psychedelic sensibility. First-listen favorites encompass the hilariously anecdotal “Grateful Dead Show” and “Your Mother Is A Sociopath”, a two-part, instrumental interlude called “Kaw River Rag,” the raucous tale of a vacationing couple in Amsterdam titled “Leidseplein,” the daydreaming title song (that I’d love to hear Barbara Dane tackle), a nostalgic glance back at their former home-state called “Going Back To Louisiana” and the charming “Riverboat Banjo” – West’s ode to his Tugboat Captain instrument, that only plays love songs. The pair also have four earlier CD’s available on Baton Rouge’s celebrated Squirrel label.
— Gary von Tersch