Published in Penguin Eggs, Issue #71, Fall 2016
You’ve got to love this album, and I’ll tell you why. Look at the liner notes. Each song lists the people that join Naiman, adding their stuff to his. Chris Coole’s there pretty much on every one. Love that. Naiman is credited on every track, less because he’s there than because he wants us to know which banjo he played: Vega Tubaphone, Romero. Love that! Honestly, gives your heart a bit of a thrill at every mention. Then, right after the banjo, there’s the tuning he used. Love that!!!
The reason why I love all of this, and why you should, too, is because Naiman himself so clearly loves it. There’s no other reason. He’s from Toronto. That says something. No, there’s no money in the banjo, and if you live in Toronto, it’s not cool either. If not for a very deep love, this wouldn’t be here at all. He loves clawhammer banjo, its tone, the tunes, the lilt, and it shows.
He wants to share it. And he does, quietly, carefully, and as comfortably as an old shoe. This is a beautiful, thoughtful, glorious collection of tunes that we can get lost in precisely because Naiman does. Love it, love it, love it.