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Built Right on the Ground
Artist: Andy Cohen 
Earwig Records
15 tracks / 44 minutes
A name like Andy Cohen doesn't exactly conjure up old-school acoustic blues, but don't let that fool you. This collection of acoustic blues / country /ragtime / boogie has the ring of authenticity to it. 
Not for the fan of hot electric wailing blues, Built Right on the Ground will appeal more to the blues music historian. With his Burl Ives-ish demeanor, Cohen opens up his musical archive and treats us to sparse but appealing arrangements that often feature only his voice and guitar. Cohen sounds almost like a man in the wrong time – an authentic bluesman from way back somehow recording in the digital age. His finger-picking is intricate but loose enough to conform to his particular timing (which sometimes is a bit eccentric).
Whether playing guitar or piano (which he does on two tracks), Cohen displays a genuinely old-time touch with plenty of skill behind it. Here, among the standard down-luck blues, you’ll also get piano rags transposed to guitar, hurdy-gurdy like instrumentals (“The Jim Dickinson Stomp”), out-and-out sentimentality (“My Old Pal”), and even a very classical-sounding “Temptation Rag.” 
Built Right on the Ground is delightfully unpretentious, transporting the listener back to a simpler time where musical stories were told without having to be hip or trendy. 
Very easy to become friends with this one.

Bert Saraco



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