Download (3)Andrew DuBois at Music and Literature:

For instrumental music, Andrews’ has lots of linguistic pleasures. It must be strange to speak only with your fingers, some wood, and some string, though the titles also talk. In Newfoundland people are taciturn, until they turn voluble, but friendly, once they figure you are worth the effort. Great talkers are among them and there is music in what they say. It is not quite like the Deep South, where the oddball constructions and the elisions of the accent are mitigated by the syrup slowness of the delivery. Here people talk fast, and there is a different diction—the Dictionary of Newfoundland English runs to 700 pages of words that you never have heard—and for all I know, if you throw a half-case of India Beer into the mix (the slogan of which, under a picture of a Newfoundland dog, is “Man’s Best Friend”), it makes it even harder to follow because you are always trying to go back and catch up to something you missed and is already gone.

The titles Duane Andrews makes up or appropriates are fun to read and give the same pleasures as those names on the map. There are the ones that ring of Newfoundland “itself”: “Joe Batt’s Arm Longliners,” “The Sailor’s Bonnet,” “The Breakwater Boys,” “Bell Island,” “The Petty Harbour Bait Skiff,” “Land and Sea Medley.” Then there are the French titles, which come from both multiple drives and a singular source: “La Gitane,” “Nantes,” “Gigues,” “Douce Ambiance,” “Valse des Niglos.” There are the remade, actually classical, classics (“Improvisations on Chopin’s Opus 64 No. 2,” “Improvisations on the First Movement of Mozart’s String Quintet”) and some classics of Americana and Tin Pan Alley and classic pop and classic country and classic rock: “Oh Susannah,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Mr. Sandman,” “Tennessee Stud,” and “Layla,” for instance, the latter three on Fretboard Journey (2016), a killer hodge-podge of an album that is the work of a Newfoundland guitarists supergroup.

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