Willie Watson transports listeners through 100 years of musical history in 35 minutes as the former Old Crow Medicine Show man sings traditional songs popularized by the Rev. Gary Davis, the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin among others on Folksinger Vol. 2.
More than a rehashing, Folksinger Vol. 2 proves Watson as comfortable with gospel and blues as he is with folk and casts 11 old-timey numbers in a new light without damaging the aural patina that makes them so alluring in the first place.
Accompanying himself on guitar, banjo, harp and Dobro and with assists from the Fairfield Four gospel singers, Gillian Welch, the Punch Brothers’ Paul Kowert and Old Crow’s Morgan Jahnig, Watson and company revisit “Samson and Delilah,” “Gallows Pole,” “Dry Bones,“ “On the Road Again, “John Henry,” “Take this Hammer” and five other tunes with arrangements that echo Jorma Kaukonen, Bob Dylan, Roy Book Binder, Taj Mahal and other members of the previous generation of interpreters.