In 1995, Mark Simos came "out from under cover"
with the release of Race the River Jordan, a CD/cassette of original
fiddle tunes in a mostly Southern old-time vein (Devachan Music/Yodel-Ay-Hee
CD017/CS017). The exaltation of musicians assembled to support Mark's
fiddling and frontier piano includes banjo virtuosa Molly Tenenbaum,
multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell (banjo, fiddle, bass and accordeon),
David Cahn (bass, mandolin, guitar), Jere Canote (guitar), musical hoodlum
Daniel Steinberg (piano and flute), and the laconic but highly effective
Peter Langston as producer (also featured on acoustic bass and tenor
guitar), as well as special guests Molly Stouten, Piper Heisig, and
mouth-harper bizarre Mark Graham.
The sessions, ranging from sparse duets to a big-band
sound with a double-twist, were recorded at Neville Pearsall's Synergy
Studios (at Ft. Worden, Washington) after a wild week of music at the
1993 Festival of Fiddle Tunes. The album has received a great deal of
radio play on traditional music programs and was chosen as one of the
five "Best Old-Time Music" new recordings for 1995 by County
"Playing both in and with the structure of traditional
Southern fiddle music, Simos has created a suite of tunes that work
together in a coherent fashion, cinematically evoking varied moods and
places... the result is an aural concoction of great depth and emotion,
played by folks who bring a respectful irreverence to their music."
-- Bob Carlin, great banjo player, unwilling to be
styled "The Mort Sahl of Old Time Music"
"Simos provides not just exciting new music that
uses elements of traditional music; his work continues and gives back
to the tradition. These are campground tunes for the 21st century--experience
--Art Menius, Bluegrass Unlimited
"Great material, beautiful production, and an
all-star cast make this one of the most enjoyable collections of instrumental
music I've heard in a dog's age." --Mary DesRosiers, Sing Out
"A real gem, full of soulful music, lovingly produced
with all my favorite values..."
-- Gregory Boardman, Maine fiddler
"The perfect tape to listen to while driving a
little too fast on a winding country road in a pickup truck full of
-- Starhawk, country truck-driver