Cutting Loose by David Holt and Josh Goforth is a collection of songs and stories from the mountains of Western North Carolina. David Holt, who is a real-life walking encyclopedia and consummate musician, has been a fixture in North Carolina’s old-time music scene since the late 1960s. Fans will recognize Josh Goforth, a Madison County native and multi-instrumentalist, as Holt’s now-15-year touring partner and accomplished bluegrass musician in his own right.
Cutting Loose was recorded at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, which means that listeners are treated to jack-tales, historical anecdotes, and personal narratives throughout the set. Fortunately, Holt has been performing for a long time and seamlessly weaves history and song together. Complimenting Holt’s inclination for collecting and retelling stories is Goforth who, as a Sodom, North Carolina native, fills in accounts of life in the mountains that he knows first-hand.
Both Holt and Goforth recognize how much they owe to those who came before them, whether they were kin by blood or spirit. Holt recounts a hilarious and touching story of Piedmont blues musician Etta Baker followed by a spirited version of her song “Railroad Bill.” Goforth shines on his story about his grandfather’s tall-tales and work habits. He sings a bit of the song “Sourwood Mountain” the way he remembers his grandfather singing it, and then he and Holt launch into that very song at a driving pace. The entire album embodies that spirit—looking back to re-interpret traditional Appalachian music for the present-day.