Folker Magazine

Review of Aragon Mill: The Bluegrass Sessions

You know something very special is happening when Si Kahn decides to record his 17th album with a German bluegrass band. All Si would have to do to put together a first class band at home in the USA would be to ask.

But Si understandably has a deep appreciation for the quality musicianship of the three Looping Brothers: Ulli Sieker (mandolin, fiddle), Matthias Malcher (guitar, banjo) and Ralf Strotmann (bass).

The three German musicians looked at Si Kahn’s wide repertoire of original songs, and chose 15 to turn into flawless, exciting bluegrass.

Working with Swedish dobro player Nickie Widen, Dutch fiddler Joost van Es and Si’s melodious baritone, they created fresh arrangements of Si’s signature songs of everyday life, with all of its worries, problems and joys.

On the fast uptempo numbers, the Looping Brother’ colorful licks on mandolin, fiddle, five string banjo and flat picked guitar create excitement with their virtuosity and speed, giving older songs like “Five Days a Week” a refreshing new life. But the slower, more melancholy songs are equally pleasing, thanks to tastefully arranged instrumentation and the three Looping Brothers’ perfect back up vocals.

A wonderful collaboration.

–by Ullrich Joosten, translated by Peter and Eva Fritsch