OWTK.com – Like a gritty metropolis that bellies up to a pristine shoreline, “Funky Folk” too is about disparate ideas working together in harmony. Jason Riley, an accomplished guitarist in a variety of disciplines, offers as his debut work for children a chill, futuristic calypso-jazz-bluegrass-instrumental folk album that defies convention.
Classic melodies (“Froggy Went A Courtin’”, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”) receive hip, instrumental treatment and the results are surprising thrilling. Riley impresses with nimble musicianship that explores the familiarity of these standards while simultaneously revealing in the newness of his arrangements. When was the last time you were excited about hearing “Camptown Races”? Oh de doo-da day, Riley’s race takes place under the warm Caribbean sun, giving you the chance to enjoy again. I’m particularly fond of the Jimi Hendrix-at-naptime electric guitar in the final third of “Frere Jaques”, a French nursery favorite that receives a sort of Steve Reich process music embrace here.
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