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Song of the Traveling Daughter

Abigail WashburnAudio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Price: $12.79 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Abigail Washburn and The Sparrow Quartet


If American old-time music is about taking earlier, simpler ways of life and music-making as one’s model, Abigail Washburn has proven herself to be a bracing revelation to that tradition. She—a singing, songwriting, Illinois-born, Nashville-based clawhammer banjo player—is every bit as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past, and every bit as attuned to ... Read more in Amazon's Abigail Washburn Store

Visit Amazon's Abigail Washburn Store
for 4 albums, 11 photos, videos, and 4 full streaming songs.

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Song of the Traveling Daughter + City of Refuge + Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 2, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nettwerk Records
  • ASIN: B0009X7704
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,288 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sometimes
2. Rockabye Dixie
3. Coffee's Cold
4. Red & Blazing
5. Single Drop of Honey
6. Eve Stole the Apple
7. Who's Gonna Shoe
8. Backstep Cindy/Purple Bamboo
9. The Lost Lamb (Chinese)
10. Nobody's Fault
11. Halo
12. Song of the Traveling Daughter (Chinese)
13. Deep in the Night
14. Momma

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old-time banjo music lives and breathes! August 16, 2005
Format:Audio CD
As a clawhammer banjo player, I listen to a lot of artists doing their own versions of old folk songs. The real treasure of this album is listening to this old-time banjoist create her own brand of old-time music. Her banjo has a really warm old-time sound, but she plays and sings her own stuff: songs about travelling, her relationship to religion/faith, her identity being wrapped up with her mother's, etc. The opening song, "Sometimes," is a great example of this: great old-time banjo playing, eventually joined by other string-band instruments, and Washburn's beautiful voice. She also plays some really nice bluesy numbers: Coffee's Cold (her own) and Nobody's Fault But Mine (Blind Willie Johnson and Nina Simone). Even her rendition of old-time songs is her own: she does a really nice faithful version of Backstep Cindy, adding some nice bluesy bends the third or fourth time through, and then transitioning into a Chinese folk song, Purple Bamboo. Really this is one of the best versions of Backstep Cindy that I've heard. There are so many good songs on here, it's hard not to talk about every one of them. Momma is a great soul searching song, as is Eve Stole the Apple, which explores her own relationship to transgression and defying Big Brother by contemplating some religious models who did the same (Eve, Jesus). This song is her own creation, but its bluesy, old-time sound draws inspiration, as she states in her notes, from Doc Boggs and from some other LOC Field Recordings. Fabulous album. Now I'm going to get the album of the group she's in: Uncle Earl's "She Waits for Night."
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a beautiful CD August 24, 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Let me start out by saying I'm new to this style of music. I was walking through a local music store and heard a few cuts from this CD and simply had to buy it. I've listened to it almost exclusively since then. It is a beautiful's simple, it's complex, it's musically stunning and the lyrics are compelling and moving. If you have any desire to seek out something different you simply must check out this CD. I think I'm in love!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen! January 13, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Now in my 60s, I started playing banjo and guitar nearly 50 years ago, and I have spent a career studying China. How wonderful it is to hear someone trace a tradition to its roots and make it her own, playing old songs and new ones of her own creation with wit and simple elegance. Washburn xiaojie--xie xie ni. Your music lightens an old woman's heart.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluegrass in the Spirit and Bone January 2, 2006
By Sires
Format:Audio CD
I was trying to explain this album to a friend of mine who loves bluegrass music-- "Really, you have to listen to her sing blue grass in Chinese!" My friend shook her head emphatically, "That's not right, that just not right."

But is it right. As right as it could be.

Abigail Washburn is a musician to watch. Don't let the Chinese put you off.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes September 9, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Some records come out and they seem so opposite of what is going on. This is one of those records. That makes me curious. Where did this stuff come from? What sort of sensibility is behind these songs? So many people have went back to the Appalachian mountain music to gain authenticity. Abigail Washburn does it as good as anyone. Apparently she got interested in doing this music while she was in China. She took some banjo lessons. Then she wrote some good songs. Some songs like "Rockabye Dixie" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine" are classics. Most of these songs deal with every day themes and Biblical images. Abigail Washburn has a great voice that is quite convincing. This may be one of the great records of the year that we come back and rediscover.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Complete, Delightful, and Substantive Surprise November 30, 2005
Format:Audio CD
NPR did an interview on Abigale Washburn and played a clip from Song of the Traveling Daughter. I was intrigued enough by what I heard that I came into the office and immediately ordered it from Amazon. I was not disappointed when I recieved it and listened to the whole album. I am not a fan of albums. I've been disappointed by most every album I have ever bought. I listen to two or three songs and then decide not to listen to the rest because they all start sounding the same. As you can tell I am not a big music fan. But with Abigale (as with Kate Campbell) I listened to the entire album. And then listened again. And then again. This album has dominated my listening time since I got it. Her voice is feminine and rich. Her style is wonderfully unique. Her choice and arrangement of songs is wonderfully refreshing. Can you imagine mixing Chinese and Appalachian? She does it and it works. I have other albums of Appalachian and like most other albums I can't listen to the whole thing at once because the appalachian sound comes off harsh on my ears. But Abigale is melodious and intriguing. The lyrics are substantive in their story and meaning. I hope that she can do this again on another album.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new kind of hybrid - and wonderful April 27, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
First and foremost, Abigail Washburn is immensely listenable. Her voice is simple and eloquent, matching almost perfectly to her material. But the material . . . Washburn has clearly captured the feel of American roots music (I wouldn't call it bluegrass) in her own material, and it's difficult for the average listener to tell some of her compositions from traditional ones. This is all to the good, as the traditional has been mined and remined. Washburn gives us new tunes that sound like the old, and that's a very pleasant thing.

But she has other material as well. A number of the pieces here are hybrids of American roots and Chinese folk, mixed in various ratios. 'Song of the Travelling Daughter' would be at home on any folk or bluegrass album with the exception that the lyrics happen to be in Chinese. Similarly the bluegrass standard 'Backstep Cindy' segues into a Chinese tune 'Purple Bamboo' with surprising smoothness. It's a fit I'd never have imagined, and it's startlingly effective. I suspect that the wonderful phrasing of 'Red & Blazing' owes a debt to Chinese folk, while 'The Lost Lamb' seems almost pure Han. The entire disk is an ear-catching, captivating mix that still has a very prominent place on my player six months after purchase.

I must also add a few words about Ben Sollee's cello (and possibly bass). Many of the arrangements involve bowed rather than plucked bass lines, and they brilliantly support and extend the music. This album would still be striking without it, but it adds another layer of excellence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars YES!, from fans of Abigail and Bela
We recently had the amazing privilege of being in the fron row (small theater) for a concert by Abigail & hubby Bela Fleck. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Negril Jerry
5.0 out of 5 stars Abigail Fans Will LIke!
Abigail sings in English and Chinese. I really love some of the songs.
I bought this as a gift for my daughter who is learning banjo so that she might be inspired to be... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Timi Gleason
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Very authentic and with originality and a longing that cuts to the soul. The folk tradition transcends national borders and flows around the world like hands and hearts joined in... Read more
Published 15 months ago by brother bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Continues the tradition.
Fine young artist and will mellow with maturity. Debby McClatchky could have been her soul mama. I feel that Abigail Washburn could use a little "grit" in her sweet style,... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Stagehand Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible album
I heard of Abigail Washburn on NPR last year and she sounded quite interesting. I finally springed for one of her albums and absolutely loved it! Read more
Published on June 2, 2010 by Stephen J. Van Hook
2.0 out of 5 stars She can do much much better !
For an American Old Timey Banjoist she appears to have tried really hard not to play her Banjo at all! Read more
Published on May 27, 2010 by HoraceHorse
5.0 out of 5 stars A cultural journey not to be missed.
I have to admit being somewhat biased- I met Abigal at a festival some years ago and have been hooked ever since. I also have family ties to China, an additional draw. Read more
Published on January 11, 2009 by T. Gannon
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Haunting
I never heard of Abigail Washburn until her interview on NPR. After hearing a few sound clips I was incredibly intrigued to hear the rest of her albums. Read more
Published on October 24, 2008 by A. Androff
5.0 out of 5 stars My introduction to folk music
Don't own another folk album and I don't think I've ever written an amazon review, but this album moves me that much. Read more
Published on June 3, 2008 by Andrew Greenfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime!
Sublime! You haven't lived until you've heard bluegrass sung in Chinese. Note that (as of 3/16/08) all 17 out of 17 reviews on this album are 5-star. Read more
Published on March 16, 2008 by Blind Willie
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