- Richard D. Smith
It’s the mark of master musicians that they can play and sing with power, strong intonation, and rock-solid timing, yet, if they choose, produce lovely and even gently beautiful music. Mandolinist/vocalist Jimmy Gaudreau and guitarist/vocalist Moondi Klein are masters, and their talents have yielded the lyrical and engaging new album Home From The Mills.
Make no mistake, this is not a soft recording. On the contrary, it goes from strength to strength in its well-chosen material, informed by the skillful passion of these veteran performers. That’s evident from the opening track, “Bending Blades” by Tim O’Brien. Guest harmony singer Lauren Klein, Moondi’s daughter, joins for a beautifully blended trio and you practically feel the breeze sweeping through a field of grasslands and memories. Gaudreau and Klein draw on other topnotch songwriters, ranging from Eric Anderson (“Close The Door Lightly When You Go”) and Townes Van Zandt (“If I Needed You”) to John Starling (“C&O Canal”) and even famed country gospel composer Albert E. Brumley (“I’d Rather Live By The Side Of The Road”).
Two especially successful—and entirely different—songs are “Enferment les Yeux,” an aria from the 1884 French opera Manon, and the 1930s pop hit “It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie,” sung by Klein and Gaudreau respectively. No matter how much of a bluegrass/old-time fan you might be, chances are you’ll be charmed by these tracks. And for the traditionalists, there are lively instrumentals on tap, including a tasty “Whiskey Before Breakfast”/“Red Haired Boy” medley and “Fisher’s Hornpipe.” On these and several of the vocals, Gaudreau and Klein make innovative use of mandola and octave mandolin.
You may have already enjoyed these two wonderful performers in bands as memorable as the Country Gentlemen, Seldom Scene, Tony Rice Unit and Chesapeake. Or you might just like great players lovingly serving up fine traditional and contemporary bluegrass/folk material. If one or more of the above is true, pick up Home From The Mills and enjoy.
Bluegrass Music Review
- Gracie Muldoon
Music from the dynamic duo of Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein is simply pure pleasure to listen to. You will adore as I did New Morning – Wow! Then, with simple sweet words of Leaving Nancy, C & O Canal and Home From the Mills they take you into a dreamlike trance where ears are tickled, emotions are released and felt. The smoothness of their picking of guitar and mandolin strings vibrate (sic) in delicate harmony as do their melodic voices in song. This is definitely one of my favorite new acoustic projects. I love Bending Blades, Shadows, If I Needed You and It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie. Lifted up in spirit by their version of By The Side Of The Road, this is one project you simple (sic) must hear from beginning to end to just enjoy it. It’s pure music pleasure. Fantastic job, guys! Beautiful!
Lonesome Road Review (4.5 out of 5 stars)
- Donald Teplyske
Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein may not record very often, but when they do, they produce Americana magic.
Not bluegrass, not country, not folk, and not alt.anything either; rather, these veterans of the Country Gentlemen, the Tony Rice Unit, the Seldom Scene, Chesapeake, and probably twenty other bands and a thousand picking parties create an uncluttered vocal and instrumental blend that encompasses essentials of all of these while bringing their own creativity to the fore. The result is devastatingly honest and pure. So true are the performances that each note, every song appears to have been lived by the duo, augmented this time by Moondi’s daughter Lauren.
As they did on 2008’s equally excellent 2:10 Train, Gaudreau and Klein have selected songs carefully.
Again they visit Australian Scotsman Eric Bogle, this time choosing to cover his “Leaving Nancy.” Instead of Tom Paxton—whose “The Last Thing on My Mind” they recorded last time out—they visit the Eric Anderson (“Close the Door Lightly When You Go”) and Gordon Lightfoot (“Shadows”) catalogs for familiar folk offerings. The traditional instrumentals this time out are “Whiskey Before Breakfast”/“Red Haired Boy” and “Fisher’s Hornpipe.” And there is, once more, a Hot Rize connection—whereas before they covered the essential “Colleen Malone,” this time two Tim O’Brien tunes are included, “Bending Blades” and “Rod McNeil.”
Home From the Mills is nearly without fault, with their selection of Alpha Rev’s “New Morning” the only tune that doesn’t do much for me. But even here, they make the song infinitely more interesting than the original.
Aside from the previously mentioned song highlights, it needs to be mentioned that Klein’s voice, which always sounds dynamic and strong, and which may be tribute to his background in opera, has seldom sounded better. There are times, as on “C&O Canal” and “If I Needed You” that one wonders if Klein isn’t simply a marvel that improves with time. Take the title track, for instance. I believe it may have been on this song, which kicked off Chesapeake’s 1996 Full Sail album, that I first heard Klein’s voice. And while that performance was memorable and quite outstanding, on Home From the Mills the effect is even more impressive.
Really, all the superlatives aside, that should be the final word on this album: impressive.
Daily Vault (B+)
- Aaron Jones
While Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein both have impeccable bluegrass pedigrees in their careers, when they come together, their combination isn't quite bluegrass or Americana. Home From The Mills pulls together a collection of fourteen mostly beautiful tracks of acoustic music. As a matter of fact, I had trouble reviewing this disc precisely because it is a thoroughly enjoyable album, but it lacks standout songs or anything you can really point to that really grabs you as the “best.” But the song selection and instrumentation combine into an absolutely gorgeous mix that goes well with coffee on a country Sunday morning. The addition of Moondi's daughter on background makes their disc Home From The Mills sound like a reincarnation of Peter, Paul, and Mary.
The song selection, like a lot of country folk albums, is reminiscent. "Leaving Nancy" and "Close The Door Lightly When You Go" speak to separation, while "Rod McNeil" is a tribute to a man who brought bluegrass musicians to a moose lodge near Pittsburg. The title track "Home From The Mills" is also reminiscent of home but it is unusual in that most musicians in the Appalachian vein as these two are usually pine for Kentucky or Virginia. But "Home" speaks of a long left home in New England, which is apropos since Gaudreau is actually from Rhode Island, and Klein was raised in New York City.
A few traditional instrumentals are sprinkled in to show off the pair's impressive guitar and mandolin work, and Albert E. Brumley's "I'd Rather Live By The Side Of The Road" is an excellent choice for the sole sacred number. The pair also takes a couple interesting side paths as well. “Enferment Les Yeux” is a French song that hearkens back to their non-bluegrass classical training, and “It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie” has a vaudevillian swing to it unlike any other tune on the album.
In spite of a lack of standout songs, Home From The Mills is a thoroughly delightful album from beginning to end. And also despite the fact that the songs feature two instruments and duo or trio vocals, they have a deceptively full sound. For a solid album front to back with some beautiful folk/traditional sound, this is one to get.
County Sales (The World's Largest Selection of Bluegrass and Old-Time Music)
Don’t be put off because this record does not fall into any specific category (Bluegrass, Old-Time, Country, “Americana” etc). The fact is there are shades of all of those genres here, but essentially Gaudreau & Klein have fashioned a style that is uniquely theirs, and it seems completely natural and unforced. Amazingly, the duo achieves a highly textured instrumental sound, thanks to Gaudreau’s exciting and tasteful work on mandolin, mandola, guitar and octave mandolin. Klein, who spent time as lead singer for the Seldom Scene and the relatively short-lived Chesapeake band, is a dynamic and very distinctive singer who comes up with some lovely, soulful passages both in his solos and his duets with Gaudreau. The songs here (14) are wonderful: the first three cuts on the album (BENDING BLADES, LEAVING NANCY and ROD McNEIL) are more than worth the price of the album, but everything works beautifully, from the two neat instrumentals (FISHER’S HORNPIPE and WHISKEY BEFORE BREAKFAST) to Townes Van Zandt’s IF I NEEDED YOU, CLOSE THE DOOR LIGHTLY WHEN YOU GO and Gordon Lightfoot’s SHADOWS. This is a stunning record that we HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Nashville Public Radio
— Dave Higgs
In my opinion, there are few things in life more exciting than a great duet album. If it's done right, the perfectly executed duet can you take you places you can't otherwise go. Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein go around the world ... and then back again on their superb new disc. The interplay between their instruments is tight and brimming with energy. The arrangements are interesting, the singing, of course, out of this world and, best of all, the end result is far greater than the sum of the parts. "2:10 Train" may well be the perfect duet album. It's full, rich and just flat-out thrilling. I'll be doing my best to get the word out in Nashville and in our other syndicated locations.
Lonesome Road Review (4 out of 5 stars)
— Maria Morgan Davis
Two voices, one mandolin, one guitar, and no place to hide. That's the challenge that Chesapeake alumni Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein have set for themselves on their debut release. They win the day with an inspired mix of songs, and a style that fuses ’30s-style brother harmonies with new acoustic music and ’70s folk-pop.
Gaudreau and Klein effectively channel James Taylor (Harvey Reid's "Dreamer or Believer"), Tony Rice (Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing on My Mind"), and Tim O'Brien (Pete Goble's "Colleen Malone"). The results are always listenable but the duo is at their best when they let their own unique style come through.
They do Harley Allen's "High Sierra" proud by underplaying the lyrical drama, keeping their harmonies simple, and making subtle use of Gaudreau's mandolin, as delicate as fine lace.
Their approach to traditional numbers is decidedly modern, but the performances are so engaging that they escape the chilly abstractionism so common to new acoustic music. "Shady Grove" closes the album with a scintillating arrangement that zigzags between the melody's forbidding minor key and breezy, progressive grass. "Sweet Sunny South" benefits from a straight-up folk approach, while a new acoustic vibe gives a lift to both "Black Jack Davey" and the instrumental medley of "Arkansas Traveler" and "Soldier's Joy." Klein excels on the latter: You'd be hard-pressed to find a more delectable bass tone.
Two swing numbers make a nice change of pace from the overall new acoustic/folk flavor. "Evening" (Mitchell Parish, Harry White) boasts enough sparkle and drive for a full orchestra, but Klein and Gaudreau get such round tone from their instruments that you'll never miss the horn section. "Any Old Time" is less infectious, but still swings.
The album reaches one of two high points with Eric Bogle's "And the Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda," the story of the World War I battle at Gallipoli, and the tragic aftermath for one Australian veteran. Klein gives a nicely nuanced vocal performance that lets the story unfold naturally.
The album's title cut bears a striking resemblance to "Sweet Home Alabama," even though it predates the Skynyrd classic. The boys have a blast improvising over the familiar changes, but their digressions are always tasteful. Gaudreau pays joyful tribute to "Sweet Home's" iconic guitar riff, and the outro is a classic rock lover's delight, but the musical hijinks never detract from the bittersweet lyric (about visiting day at Big Ben prison). Klein gives the album's most affecting vocal performance here, and the brush strokes of longing harmony from Gaudreau perfectly highlight the most yearning parts of the melody. This one is sure to be a huge hit in concert.
Gaudreau and Klein have crafted an instant summer soundtrack that's as comfortable and durable as a favorite pair of jeans.
— Keith Lawrence
Can bluegrass be played on just two instruments - a mandolin and guitar? Purists will likely debate whether this new album from Jimmy Gaudreau and Lawrence "Moondi" Klein is really bluegrass. But both are long-time bluegrass musicians and the music is acoustic.
And anyway, the definition of bluegrass is getting pretty loose these days. Gaudreau, 61, the mandolin player, burst on the national bluegrass scene in 1969, when he replaced John Duffey in the legendary Country Gentlemen. Duffey went on to found the Seldom Scene and in the early 1990s, Klein, now 45, replaced John Starling as the lead singer and guitarist for the Scene.
Then, Gaudreau and Klein joined forces in 1996 to create the short-lived super-group Chesapeake with Mike Auldridge and T. Michael Coleman, two other former members of the Seldom Scene. Chesapeake, which played a blend of bluegrass, country, folk, blues and jazz, folded a decade ago.
But last year, Klein invited Gaudreau to go with him on a trip to Great Britain and they decided to record an album to sell at shows over there. That's why it's a duet album and not a full band. Rebel refers to the album as "new-time" brother duets. Whatever it is, it's beautiful music.
Three of the songs - "Dreamer or Believer," "High Sierra" and "The Last Thing On My Mind" - are from the Chesapeake repertoire. Four are traditional songs - "Sweet Sunny South," "Arkansas Traveler/ Soldier's Joy," "Black Jack Davey" and " Shady Grove." The title cut is a song about a train that takes women home from visiting day at a prison. It's all good, but the highlight is "And The Band Played `Waltzing Matilda'," a song about Australian soldiers in World War I who learned that "there were worst things than dying."
Whether it's technically bluegrass or not, "2:10 Train" is an album most bluegrass fans will want to hear.
The News & Observer
— Jack Bernhardt
Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein, former members of the artgrass quartet Chesapeake, join together for a thoroughly enjoyable 13-song romp with "2:10 Train" (Rebel). Chesapeake might have been to bluegrass what smooth jazz is to jazz, but Gaudreau and Klein craft a sound that is suave yet vibrant with sturdy bluegrass/folk constructions.
Klein and Gaudreau (a member of Robin and Linda Williams' Fine Group) develop progressive newgrass arrangements for such trusty favorites as Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing on My Mind" as well as the classics "Sweet Sunny South," Shady Grove" and "Arkansas Traveler/Soldier's Joy."
Vocally, the duet is distinguished by Klein's warm, supple tenor enriched by Gaudreau's high harmonies. The duet excels on ballads such as Harley Allen's introspective "High Sierra," the separation saga "Colleen Malone" and "And the Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda,'" a World War I tale that remains relevant as an anti-war anthem.
Gaudreau's virtuosic mandolin playing is matched by Klein's lyrical guitar leads on the traditional "Black Jack Davey" and Jim and Jesse McReynolds' "Dixie Hoedown," adding instrumental luster to an already sparkling collection.
The Bluegrass Blog
— John Reese
Rebel Records has two new releases released last week, a greatest hits compilation and a new duo recording.
Jimmy Gaudreau & Moondi Klein - 2:10 Train. Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein are names that should be familiar to bluegrass fans. Klein spent time with Seldom Scene, and later with Mike Auldridge (and Jimmy Gaudreau) in Chesapeake. Gaudreau has been a member of several of the most celebrated acts ever to play bluegrass - The Country Gentlemen, JD Crowe & The New South and The Tony Rice Unit, to name a few.
Their debut CD together is called 2:10 Train, and the performances are true duets throughout. There are no guest artists, just Moondi on guitar and lead vocals with Jimmy on mandolin and harmony. The material is taken from traditional old time and country music, and some of the best contemporary bluegrass and folk songwriters. If you've followed these genres for the past 20 years or so, most of the titles will be familiar, but each receives a treatment that is fresh and perfectly in keeping with the minimalist approach on this CD.
You'll find Tom Paxton's "Last Thing On My Mind," Pete Goble's "Colleen Malone," Harley Allen's "High Sierra," and Eric Bogle's "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" among the newer songs along with old time favorites like "Sweet Sunny South," "Shady Grove," and Black Jack Davey."
— Editorial Review
Since his arrival in the late-1960's, mandolin player Jimmy Gaudreau has been among the most sought-after bluegrass session musicians, although he rarely stepped out under his own name. In 2008, he teamed up with New York City guitarist and one-time Seldom Scene singer Moondi Klein for the mellow 2:10 TRAIN. The lushly produced album contains a wide variety of influences, reflected in its covers, which range from Jimmie Rodgers to Tom Paxton. The collaboration bears the mark of two seasoned musicians with an abiding love for the music and the land.
— Editorial Review
Every so often two diverse musical talents get together to create a fresh new sound that just seemed destined to happen. That is the case here as two well-respected musicians combine to provide a vibrant, distinctive duet treatment of a wonderful group of songs and tunes.
For more than 35 years Jimmy Gaudreau has been one of the premier sidemen in bluegrass music, getting his start in 1969 when he replaced John Duffey as mandolin player and tenor singer for the legendary Country Gentlemen (the three albums he made with them included one of their biggest hits, Fox on the Run ). Stints followed with Eddie Adcock s II Generation, Country Store (with the late Keith Whitley), J. D. Crowe s New South and Spectrum (with Bela Fleck). He then held down a nine-year tenure with the Tony Rice Unit.
Moondi Klein grew up in Manhattan of all places, and was associated with the Metropolitan Opera s Children s Chorus before he turned 10 years old. A trip to the Carter Fold in Southwest Virginia with his dad introduced him to mountain music and, in effect, changed his life. After studying music in college he moved to the Washington DC area where he soon became the lead singer for the renowned Seldom Scene, replacing John Starling. He later teamed up with Gaudreau, Mike Auldridge and T. Michael Coleman in the short-lived but impressive group Chesapeake.
Gaudreau, with his clean, dynamic and thoroughly musical mandolin picking, and Klein, an excellent guitarist, provide more than enough tasteful instrumental ideas here in their fills, their spirited back up work and their beautifully performed version of Dixie Hoedown and a medley of the classic old-time tunes Arkansas Traveler and Soldier's Joy. But it is their trademark vocal blend that first catches the listener, and they have chosen a baker s dozen of wonderful songs that suit them so well (like the best of their work with Chesapeake). Especially effective are superb versions of Colleen Malone, Black Jack Davey, Last Thing On My Mind and the classic Sweet Sunny South.
Harley Allen s lovely High Sierra and Harvey Reid s Dreamer Or Believer are newer songs that fit in perfectly with the duo s style a sound that s grounded in tradition but fully contemporary at the same time.
Proper Distribution (The largest independent distributor in the UK)
— Editorial Review
Gaudreau & Klein are not so much an old-time "brother" duo - though they stick to the traditional form of guitar and mandolin with vocals - as they are a new-time duo. They have concocted an intriguing blend of the traditional and the contemporary as evidenced by their playing and singing as well as their song choices. This debut album from the founding members of progressive bluegrass supergroup Chesapeake contains several modern numbers as well as some reworked chestnuts that combine to make an altogether excellent recording.
County Sales (The World's Largest Selection of Bluegrass and Old-Time Music)
A few years back the short-lived group Chesapeake came out with three interesting albums, which _though uneven_all contained some gems. Klein and Gaudreau were the major forces in that group which also included Mike Auldridge and T. Michael Coleman. What Jimmy and Moondi are doing here as a duet is very reminiscent of the Chesapeake recordings, except the material is all well-chosen and appropriate to their style. Klein_who was lead singer for the Seldom Scene for awhile_has a good voice and a very distinctive manner of presentation, and he is complemented beautifully by Gaudreau's tasteful mandolin playing and equally strong vocals. (Klein adds some excellent lead guitar work too). Offset by a couple of lovely slower pieces like Harley Allen's HIGH SIERRA, the songs are mostly sprightly pieces that move along nicely: BLACK JACK DAVEY, SWEET SUNNY SOUTH, COLLEEN MALONE, LAST THING ON MY MIND and Harvey Reid's DREAMER OR BELIEVER all stand out, as do the two mandolin-guitar instrumentals (DIXIE HOEDOWN and an ARKANSAS TRAVELER/SOLDIER'S JOY MEDLEY). The music here is different, distinctive, relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable.
Mandolin Cafe News
The perfect trio of mandolin, guitar and two superb voices for this Rebel Recording by two veteran bluegrass performers. Songs from the tradition plus newer songs from Harvey Reid, Tom Paxton, Eric Bogle, Harley Allen and more.