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Us Not Them & Friends
Self-produced (

Us Not Them is an acoustic duo from New South Wales in Australia made up of ChloŽ Roweth on lead vocals and mandolin and Jason Roweth on guitar, bass and vocals. On this, their fourth CD, they get a bit of help on the fiddle, viola and accordion. They sing in delicate folk harmonies and play country-tinged traditional music. Their music is refreshingly open, spacious like the rural countryside they sing about.

Sleepers is a work of revitalization, as the Roweths have taken field recordings and given the songs a new life. The 16 songs on this CD are taken from recordings of Carrie Milliner and the Bobbin family who grew up in the bush of "The Nullica," near Eden on the south coast of New South Wales. Due to the "fertile isolation" of the Bobbin family, they sometimes came up with slightly different tunes for familiar pieces, such as the "The Wild Colonial Boy." The lyrics focus on the life of rural Australia, such as "When the Sheep are in the Fold." The songs were meant for the parlor, the pub, the campfire, the dinner table and the music hall. Highlights include "The Wanderers," one of Milliner's recitations which Us Not Them put to music, the bittersweet gem "The Drunkard's Child," and English ballads "The Rambling Bachelors" and "Barbary Allen."

The songs have also been published in a songbook, for those who'd like to play and sing along. All of the tracks from the CD are included, in standard notation and guitar chords, along with the Roweths' arrangements. - Ivan Emke

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