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In POTLUCK, they serve up tasty arrangements for guitar, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, psaltery and bass, seasoned with some fine harmony singing. My favorites are the Alice Spatz composition “Queen Anne’s Lace,” their arrangement of Shaker songs and the traditional “Peg and Awl.” Bon appetit – Mary DesRosiers, Sing Out!
The folk trio WINTERGREEN from the United States demonstrated how refreshing and varied folk music can be. It was a compelling, well thought out and living art form. One could hear lively walking lines from the contrabass, and also beautifully intoned melodies played with the bow. The vocal arrangements, with up to three voices, were uncommonly pure in intonation and radiated much esprit and vigor. The three American guests, who appeared as part of the sister city cultural exchange between Pittsfield and Straubing, had a marvelous stage presence and played well together. Jared Polens’ quick dexterity on the dulcimer supplied refreshing, rippling melodies, which were supported rhythmically and harmonically by the Spatzes. Their first CD PASS IT ON DOWNis a well played and excellently produced product, recommended to all who appreciate folk music. – Straubinger Rundschau (Straubing, Germany)
The stately POTLUCK highlights the trio’s versatility, with several original songs, instrumentals, versions of contemporary tunes by the likes of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kate Wolf and Dillon Bustin, a handful of Anglo-Celtic standards and even one klezmer tune thrown into the mix. The sum effect is a kind of chamber-folk, a celebration of timeless melodies and sounds produced by instruments. Many of the songs boast two- and three-part harmonies that would make Peter, Paul and Mary blush. Alice Spatz in particular is the Berkshires answer to Emmylou Harris – Seth Rogovoy, Berkshire Eagle
The WINTERGREEN trio performed various styles of folk music with great energy and enthusiasm. For the audience each song became a unique experience because the musicians expressed themselves so precisely. Even their explanations of the songs were understandable so that the translator, who did an outstanding job, was almost unnecessary. The presentation featured Alice Spatz, who switched effortlessly back and forth between contrabass and mandolin. Her singing combined a confident intonation with bell-like clarity and was able to capture the changing expressive demands of the music. Her husband, Larry Spatz, carefully maintained the rhythmic strength and harmonic foundation of the group with his guitar, while Jared Polens on the hammered dulcimer played most of the melodies, making the songs memorable by varying the tune on each repeat. There was sincere applause and the group played three encores. – Thomas Richwien, (Viechtach, Germany)
PASS IT ON DOWN includes ballads, gospel numbers, novelties, waltzes, reels, jigs and Celtic tunes that show the group equally at home as a vocal and instrumental ensemble. It boasts the crystalline clarity of a chamber ensemble, showcasing the groups virtuosityand complex, downright acrobatic three-part harmonies. – Seth Rogovoy, Berkshire Eagle