Editors' pick

The Wandering

Folk/Bluegrass
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Editorial Review

THE WANDERING
Album erview: "Go on Now, You Can't Stay Here"
By Catherine P. Lewis
Friday, May 11, 2012

North Mississippi AllStars guitarist-singer Luther Dickinson has put together a crew of folk MVPs for a project called the Wandering. The other musicians are solo artists in their own right: Shannon McNally, Amy LaVere, Valerie June and Sharde Thomas, who handle the vocal duties on the group's debut album, "Go on Now, You Can't Stay Here," a collection of mostly traditional folk and blues.

The quintet aims for an old-timey sound; the singalong ending of "Glory, Glory" captures the energy of the traditional spiritual with off-kilter rhythm and flubbed lyrics. Elsewhere, though, that simple approach seems more rudimentary than charming. A kazoo wails particularly harshly in the middle of "Mr. Spaceman," and McNally's yodeling on "The Outlaw," while true to Sid Selvidge's original song, just sounds hooty and forced.

When those crude elements are toned down, the Wandering captures a more palatable Americana sound. McNally's melancholy voice and Valerie June's somber banjo are magical on a cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Lovin' Him Was Easier Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again." Even more poignantly, Valerie June's plaintive whine highlights the passive aggression in the final verse of "You Are My Sunshine": "If you leave me to love another, you'll regret it all someday."