Aileen & Elkin Thomas

Aileen & Elkin Thomas
Shantih Records

The Hornpipe - Nov/Dec 86

Whooeeeeee-hah! Here’s some of the best toe-tappin’ Texas music you’re gonna hear in awhile, and some of the best unabashed country/folk harmony. It’s also a collection of original songs that say a lot more about life that the ones you hear on the radio.

The Thomases are a husband-wife duo who play the essentials (6- and 12-string guitars and 5-string banjo for Elkin, bass for Aileen; they’re backed by fiddler David McKnight on this album) and sing primarily songs penned by Elkin. They’re not ashamed of three-chord tunes. They’re not afraid to sound farmy. Their formula is anything but complicated, yet they put it together so wonderfully you’re left puzzling over what makes it work so well.

Maybe it’s because they’re really in touch with the unencumbered, "acoustic" lifestyle they convey with their music. Maybe it’s because their talents were just meant for each other. I don’t know. But I can tell you I will be there to hear them when they perform anywhere near my locale.

They sing songs about Aunt Exie, famous phonies, a rocking chair sage and a mule named Jake. Songs about heading home from the city to be with the cows and the hogs and the chickens and the dogs. The more I listen to this album, the more I’d like to be there with them, too.

"And it’s livin’ country style/Makes a body wanna dance a mile/ Homegrown, grow your own/Come again when you can stay awhile."

that song, "Livin’ Country Style," was recorded "live" at their home at 4 o’clock one morning. You can hear their rooster in the near background.

In the Walnut Valley Festival list of artists: