This Is Bluegrass, But Then Something Else
Back in October, John Gjaltema of altcountry.nl got in touch with me and asked me to send him a copy of my record for review on his Netherlands acoustic music site. I wasn't sure how he found me, but I was excited to send my record all the long way across the ocean and get feedback from someone with a European point of view all the same. Maybe he would like what he heard. Maybe someone else from the Netherlands would read it and become a fan. Who could tell, maybe this exposure would lead to playing a few festivals in Europe...I've always wanted to see something in Amsterdam besides the inside of the airport. Hans Brinker was like my favorite book when I was a kid.
Then of course I got busy settling into my new life in the country (more on this soon), and being pregnant with baby #4, and getting ready for the holidays, and I forgot all about John Gjaltema and his Dutch point of view until he forwarded me a link to his review of my record. It was a bit of a thrill to see my name in such an unexpected, exotic context, and I was curious about his response to my album. Paraphrasing will simply not do it justice, I have to share the review with you in its entirety.
Op haar negende wist Jenny Anne Mannan al hoe ze een gehoor tevreden moest stellen. Ze babbelde er op los, terwijl ze zelf de snaren van haar gitaar wisselde. Mannan groeide op in een muzikale familie die er veel op uit trok om gezamenlijk voor een publiek te musiceren. Op Saints & Sinners (eigen beheer) trekt ze de lijn van toen gewoon door, hetgeen betekent dat hier old-time mountain music valt te beluisteren. Dat is bluegrass, maar dan toch net iets anders. Eenvoudiger vooral. Gaat het in bluegrass vooral om het plezier van het samenspel veelal uitmondend in watervallen van noten, in old-time lopen de klaaglijke melodieën rechtuit. Niet te veel poespas, de trillingen van de snaren dienen liedjes vol smart. Helemaal niet raar dus dat Mannan in haar eentje deze cd volspeelt. Op fiddle, mandoline en gitaar begeleidt ze zichzelf op de negen nummers van Saints & Sinners. Dancehall Hornpipe, Dancehall Waltz en Dancehall Rag zijn instrumentals. Mannan komt uit de bergen van de in het noordwesten van Amerika gelegen staat Washington. Ze woonde een tijd in Nashville, maar gunde haar drie kinderen de rust van opgroeien in de nabijheid van de familie. Verkrijgbaar bij CD Baby.
So. Do any of you speak Dutch? I don't. Of course I didn't expect the review itself to be written in English, I mean, how narcisstic are we Americans anyway? But I did think that since John Gjaltema took the trouble to send me a link to his review he might also include at least a hint about what he said. But since he didn't, I turned to that well known and credible source of all information: The Internet. I found a translation website which promised to translate anything from any language to any other. Perfect! I copied and pasted the review into the translation generator, and received the following reply:
On her ninth knew Jenny Anne Mannan Mangal already how they had to set a hearing satisfied. They babbeld there, while they themselves the strings of her guitar exchange. Mannan Mangal grew up in a musical family, with have a lot to withdrew from public to jointly for a songwriter. On Saints & Sinners (their own management), draws the line when simply by, which means that old-time mountain music is to listen to them. This is bluegrass, but then something else. Easier in particular.
Aside from being glad that oldtime mountain music is to listen to me, I have no idea what to make of that. Is it a good thing that I myself the strings of my guitar exchange? But surely babbling there is not so good... Not only do I not know what the review said, I don't even know if it's positive! Oh well. I guess I can shelve my fantasies of European stardom for a little while longer. And in the meantime I'll continue making bluegrass, but then something else.