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Camp 40 Recordings C4T200CD

Cambridge-based Daniel Nestlerode brings his brand of “authentic Americana” to his second CD, Almost Home. Four self-penned compositions, three standards and three instrumentals compile the ten tracks.

The instrumentals showcase Daniel’s mastery of the mandolin. Red Haired Boy / Salt Creek is a foot-tapping, rhythmically tight number, while Humphrey’s Waltz is gentle and wistful. The up-tempo Locktender’s Reel and Temperance Reel complete the trio. Among Daniel’s four songs, Wounded Knee acknowledges the suffering of native Americans, and Take Us As We Are is a warm and up-beat celebration of domestic chaos, with a fine melody and sing-along chorus. Here And Now is similarly paced, while the closing song, Say Goodbye, is also strong with a hint of poignancy.

Three well-known classics make interesting inclusions. The powerful lyrics of Poor Wayfaring Stranger and Stephen Foster’s wonderful Hard Times Come Again No More have relevance to contemporary issues. Daniel’s versions are straightforward, as is his treatment of the equally familiar Shenandoah. It is easy to imagine Daniel’s live performances truly bringing these great songs to life.

While much of the work on the album is solely Daniel’s, with his mandolin playing as the outstanding feature, he is ably accompanied by Mark Gamon and Paul Ballantyne on guitar, and Marie Mace on bodhrán.

Almost Home is a warm and pleasant listen - a demonstration of marvellous mandolin playing and a collection of easily accessible and classic songs.

Jim McCourt

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This album was reviewed in Issue 122 of The Living Tradition magazine.