Released in 1992, the original Arkansas Traveler is a travelogue of the old-time string band and fiddle tunes Michelle grew up playing in East Texas. Out of print since 1998, it features collaborations with a jawdropping list of Americana heroes and pioneers. This reissue has been digitally remastered and includes 7 bonus tracks of previously unreleased material.
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Member CD Reviews
(amarikidd) from HERNDON, VA
Reviewed on 5/16/2014...
I'm not sure how to review this third concept in her Mercury Years. Yes its that voice, sarcastic and breathy, taking her musical interpretations in a quirky reinvention of the past. There are some songs, which are really just existing Bluegrass jams, I don't find well interpreted.They don't add to the classics. But I find some songs, such as Strawberry Jam, that re that uniquely Shocked fabulous. She does make a critical mistake; Shocked claims the album is her love letter to original Minstrel Blackface. Its not. Its a new interpretation of Mountain Music (Scots-Irish/English ballads tumbled with Slave Blues songs and a shot of Minstrel music). The songs where she reinvents that Mt. music are lovely. The other third of the album where she replays Appalachian Music-kinda uninspired.
(KathleenMarie) from WALDPORT, OR
Reviewed on 1/8/2007...
Very good album it is just not my style of music.
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 03/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though I am not a big fan of country music as presented on the radio, I am a connoisseur of quality country music. With the re-issue of Arkansas Traveller, Michelle Shocked has outdone herself with eighty minutes of quality music that will be listened to after all the top-40 schlock is long forgotten.
Now Arkansas Traveller is not the type of formulaic country that the uninitiated might expect. Some might even say its not country. Well, call it bluegrass, folk, Americana or whatever you will. This CD is pure old-time country from the roots up.
One of the things that makes this recording such a delight is that Shocked brings in such a variety of people to accompany her on these songs. There ARE a few that are a little cornball for me (like the title cut and C-H-I-C-K-E-N), but I recognize they were all made in a spirit of fun. I prefer the more serious music. My favorites are both versions of Come A Long Way, Shaking Hands (with Uncle Tupelo), the hilarious Jump Jim Crow (with eclectic bluesman Taj Mahal), Hold Me Back (with another eclectic bluesman Gatemouth Brown), Prodigal Daughter (with bluegrass master Allison Krauss), both versions of Blackberry Blossom, and both versions of Weaving Way.
All of those other musicians are well-known for their ability to blur the distinctions between musical genres and that's part of what makes this CD such a treat. But Shocked shows also that she works well with very traditional country/bluesgrass musicians. Here she brings out the best in them, but they do the same for her.
This is only the second Michelle Shocked recording I have obtained. I just happened to come on to it while browsing the bins at a San Diego music store. It is so different from the other (Captain Swing) that her masterful versatility becomes immediately apparent. Those who like quality music no matter the genre will find a lot to like in the nearly eighty minutes of music presented here. Arkansas Traveller is truly a country delight."