19 May 2008


Back in Two Thousand Ought One Oxford American Magazine published one of their Music issues and I was thrilled by a Steve Forbert track called It Sure Was Better Back Then. The song was great and combined with Forbert's weathered beaten storm cellar door of a voice I was hooked. Now no slight against Forbert, the guys great and even mostly survived The New Dylan tag but nothing I heard of his, short of a Nilsson cover, really did it for me like that OA track. Now comes a cd in the mail from a virtually unknown Arkansan named Adam Posnak and outta the blue I finally get the whole album I was looking for from Forbert from this kid doin' semi-obscure covers. Posnak is an all-most-originally from Georgia thirty-four year old husband/dad and a gifted Arkansaw potter, great grandson of a banjo playing Missouri string band man, and co-member of Uncle Cuckleburr's Champion Possum Carvers. He's also an ex of Louisiana's Jug-or-not String Band, fan of Frank Stokes and all of those jug stompers and mountaineers and valley boys and blue sky climbers and ol' Uncle Dave. He has a sweet little arsenal of old guitars you wish were yours, and he likes the color green. Posnak is also the recent winner in the solo/duo competition portion at the Ozark Blues Society Blues Challenge. He snatched the Best Self Produced CD award as well. I gotta bet he sounds a hell of a lot like his Great Grampa did as he worked along the Mississippi. Of course that's always the curse, the rub of the folks who choose or have it chosen for them, to play in a style that is outside this century if not the last couple is to sound "Real". Whatever that is. To Sound like you not only mean it but have some sorta first or at least second hand experience in the world that you are representing. To sound like you embody at least the ember or whatever that vibrating spark is that connects the music to the people. To not sound like yr dabbling in musical thespianism. That's where Posnak comes in. I don't know the guy but I don't detect any Waits-ian Greil Marcus-esque old timey 'merican carnival play acting. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Adam Posnak rolls effortlesly from a haunting solo holler like Diamond Joe to a light and lovely cover of C.C. Rider. Can an album begin to spell quality if it doesn't include a song about chicken in some form or another? Adam Posnak brings Mr.Stokes and the Beale Street Sheiks to the table with their Chicken You Can Roost Behind The Moon. The aforementioned Mr. Tom would surely at least appreciate the lonely quarter moon lit autumn Ozark plateau town sound of Posnak's cover of Mighty Sparrow's Obeah Wedding. Now, Adam Posnak has this other two piece outfit called Uncle Cuckleburr's Champion Possum Carvers, which, besides some Patton and Papa Charlie Jackson and Rube Lacey etc covers, leans toward more originals and an often somewhat creepier modern old timey sound. They are in some sort of semi-hiatus so Mr.Posnak has decided to go solo on himself. I find it fascinating and thrilling that are still folks who are willing to not only carry on the legacy of this music, but be part of the legacy with out blackening their teeth and acting like a oxy headed minstrel gomer. Wether or not all that'll get him onto the local West Fork Arkansas Little O' Opry or a gig with Forbert is beyond me but damn sure it oughta.


Uncle Cuckleburr's Champion Possum Carvers MySpace

Adam Posnak- Ragged and Dirty MP3
Adam Posnak- Chicken You Can Roost Behind The Moon MP3
Adam Posnak- Diamond Joe MP3
Uncle Cuckleburr's Champion Possum Carvers- Black Draught Holler MP3
UCCPC- Hot Corn MP3
UCCPC- My Lord Weaves the White Cloth MP3

Mr. Posnak would prefer this song to be played
five times in a row at his funeral:
Charlie Patton- Shake it and Break it MP3

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