Review: Stafford-Jutz album brings to life forgotten voices

“Lost Voices,” Tim Stafford & Thomm Jutz (Mountain Fever)

“Lost Voices” features new songs written in the past tense, and serves as an engaging soundtrack to neglected chapters in American history.

The album comes from the formidable singer-storyteller team of Tim Stafford, best known for his work with the bluegrass band Blue Highway, and Thomm Jutz, a classically trained native of Germany whose music is classically Americana.

As the album title suggests, Stafford and Jutz sought to bring to life forgotten voices, among them a vaudeville star, Appalachian women, Navajo code talkers and Black baseball barnstormers. There’s an ode to trees and a lovely spiritual, while morality tales of an outlaw and a family feud litter the lyrics with bodies.

Stafford and Jutz pair carefully crafted images and details with equally vivid melodies. While a few songs feature a full bluegrass combo, the duo’s handsome, intertwined vocals and acoustic guitar work carry the set as they explore a variety of styles. Jutz sings a simple, lilting Irish waltz, a train song evokes “City of New Orleans,” and Stafford’s all-star tenor shines on “The Blue Grays,” a baseball tune that swings as hard as Willie Mays.

“Lost voices can’t be heard until we set them free,” Jutz sings on the title cut. Mission accomplished.


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