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DIY Record Review by Clay Steakley

For a concept record born in a few train songs written for a documentary, The Lost Railroad Journal is an impressive and cohesive record. Daniel Ross enlisted no less than 16 family members and friends to help him build this epic—a 15-song tale of a depression-era tramp traveling the railroads of America. The result is an informed and thoroughly enjoyable folk record. Eight different lead vocalists voice the different characters of the tale while an arsenal of instruments from fiddle and banjo to jugs, tenor sax, and squeezebox fill out the settings and action.
The term “concept record,” as a rule, gives one the shivers and that’s why I’m loathe to use it in this case. Instead, The Lost Railroad Journal, much like Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra’s Blood on the Fields, is an ambitious oratorio. Unlike Marsalis’ work, however, Ross and company’s work here is at once intimate and detached in its simple, beautiful storytelling. It’s evident from the first listen that every performer on this CD is emotionally invested in the work—from the pining fiddles to the wailing harmonies.


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The Vancouver Province, "ULTRASOUND"

"Langley songwriter/producer Daniel Ross and friends have put together a bluesy-loose, back-porch ode to all things trains and rambling. Ross, who usually works on film soundtracks, was determined to keep these 15 songs sounding as stripped down as they were simply written and has succeeded. It's amazing that so many of these, such as the opening, "No Call for Settling Down," sound as if they've been around since Jimmy Rodgers' day. Ross has come up with a stunning debut here and he kept it nice and Canadian.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars."

-John P. McLaughlin
 
   
The Province, Best Country/Roots of 2000 Top Ten

"More than mere Honourable Mention, these are the ones it hurt most not including in the Top Ten:
-Neko Case: Furnace Room Lullabye,
-Slaid Cleaves: Slaid Cleaves,
-Bela Fleck & The Flecktones: Outbound, -Shelby Lynn: I Am Shelby Lynn,
-Claire Lynch: Lovelight,
-Willie Nelson: Milk Cow Blues,
-Daniel Ross and the Jones Collective: The Lost Railroad Journal,
-Southern Culture On The Skids: Liqoured Up and Lacquered Down,
-Zubot & Dawson: Tractor Parts."

-John P. McLaughlin
 

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