Karen Celia Heil surveys some great new Tiki Parlour Old-time recordings

California, with immigrants from the world over, has always been awash in traditional music, and continues to be. New releases on the Tiki Parlour label from Southern Cal spotlight the many directions that current and past Old-time music has taken.

From San Diego via Kentucky, master multi-instrumentalist Clinton Davis’ debut solo recording “If I Live And I Don’t Get Killed” will take you on a pleasureful jaunt, with banjo accompanied Old-time vocals, country blues guitar, barrelhouse piano, and signature expert fiddling. Clinton is a musician’s musician, as well as a teacher and performer held in high regard. A stunning debut recording that is well worth your ear!

Moving our focus to San Francisco, we look at another excellent release on Tiki Parlour from the band, Skillet Licorice.“Allsorts Orchestra” is a many-musical-guests layering on the foundation of Elise Engelberg’s beautiful fiddling and Matt Knot’s guitar, banjo, and production skills. A specialty of theirs has been the music of the East Texas Serenaders, a seminal string band dating from 1927-1937, and this recording has many of these lush, dreamy rags and waltzes being taken on a big band ramble. The album is rounded out with more great vintage Old-time surprises. No wonder they are a California Showcase choice for 2022 Father’s Day Fest.

Last but not least is the Parlour’s release from April of this year. It starts with live tracks from 1998 of revered seminal players Tom Sauber, Tom Carter, Blanton Owen, and more. Beautifully rendered classics of the genre, played expertly, warmly, by the best. So engaging. Then come mesmerizing duets of well chosen songs-in-harmony and tunes from Tom and son Patrick Sauber. Never have I been on the edge of my seat before listening to a medium tempo “Over the Waterfall”; it’s that rhythmic and beautifully phrased. This is Old-time at it’s best, and required listening for all hard-core devotees.

These recordings and more can be found at https://oldtimetikiparlour.com/