Clifton Hicks and Jake Book have come together to play the old songs from Scots Irish, the British Isles, and songs that eventually made their way to the Appalachian Mountain country. They bring these old songs to us, all the while putting their own twist on them. With their twist, or their take on them, they bring these songs to the masses to revive them, and to give them a new life.
From the Hills & From the Plains is their current release and it is a most pleasurable listen. While the songs they are playing maybe older than both Clifton and Jake all they are trying to do is give them new life. From “Cumberland Gap” sung by Clifton to “Little Bird” sung by Jake this album feels like these two guys set up in their living room, kitchen, or front porch playing songs they grew up with. Everything in between on this album harkens back to days of old. Where giving a voice to the people that didn’t have one meant something. Where leaving home and not necessarily going to look for a new one, more like stumbling or hearing through word of mouth about one was prevalent. War ballads, soldier ballads, all here on this album to take you back to that time so long ago, but at the same time these songs are still relevant today. On one particular song “Last Gold Dollar/Mole in the Ground” Clifton sings the verses to Last Gold Dollar while Jake sings Mole in the Ground. An interesting take where they trade verses but singing different songs, is again a pleasurable twist and speaks to their talent as musicians.
Clifton Hicks and Jake Book came together to record this album after much trying by Jake to get a hold of Clifton. When they finally got together they became friends and next thing you knew they were recording this album. From Jake I think what I will type next speaks to why music can be such an amazing experience and maybe in a sense how Clifton and Jake connected. I asked Jake “Why music? Of all things to do why this?” he responded with: “music for me is a deep seeded thing I can’t seem to get rid of. And believe me, I’ve contemplated doing other things and still do. I get incredibly frustrated with it at times. But it’ll always be something I do. I love sharing with others. It connects me to the past in a way that I can’t explain. It’s just a beautiful thing. My hope is that through my music people will realize the rich musical heritage around them and dive into it, study it, and research it for themselves.”
With this album Clifton and Jake bring you the songs to do just that. To dive into and study and research. On the back of the album not only do they give you the person/persons who may have originally wrote the tune, but they also provide the banjo tunings for anyone that would like to play along. Music can be a very powerful experience, and with From the Hills & From the Plains these two gentlemen welcome you into their kitchen for a cup of coffee and some tunes from yesterday’s so long ago.
Jake has his own YouTube series called “Kitchen Songs” where you can check out all kinds of videos. You can get a digital copy and physical copy of their album From the Hills & From the Plains HERE!
Check out Jake Book at the Whispering Beard Folk Festival in Friendship, IN August 22 - 24th