Something about the simplest forms of bluegrass and old-time make them the perfectly fitting music to soundtrack autumn, with her crisp nights, warm colors, harvest treats, and seasonal drinks. The season evokes a back porch and round-the-fire pickin’, roots music in her most basic iteration, as respite and enjoyment for the long winter nights ahead. A fiddle, a banjo, a guitar, a mountain dulcimer, an autoharp – any of these would be the ideal score for summer giving way to fall.
It’s fitting then, that Bruce Molsky’s “Cider” begins with a rake. Molsky’s 2006 album, Soon Be Time, is perhaps his solo magnum opus, a no-skip, nearly perfect collection of modern interpretations of old-time classics deliciously steeped in a subtle, autumnal vibe. The project includes numerous tracks that have since grown to be regarded as seminal recordings of each, to a new generation of bluegrass and old-time pickers. Tunes like “Lazy John,” “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie,” “John Brown’s Dream,” and others are seemingly regarded as Molsky’s own material now, with plenty of covers referencing Soon Be Time’s versions as source recordings.
“Cider” isn’t the only fall-flavored tune on the album — see also: “Come Home” and “Forked Deer” — but its impeccable banjo tone, magnificent rakes, and jovial quality will warm you head to toe like a piping hot mug of your favorite appley drink. If you’re headed over the river and through the woods this autumn, Soon Be Time would be the perfect companion, especially with a taste of “Cider.”
Photo credit: David Holt