Back in the early '90's I became a fan of folk-rocker, Michelle Shocked after picking up a copy of the popular "Short, Sharp, Shocked". I loved that album as well as it's horn drenched successor "Captain Swing". But nothing prepared me for the release of her wonderful CD, "Arkanas Traveler". "Arkansas Traveler" is Michelle's homage to the 19th century musical form known as "Minstrel Music". Not many artists would have the guts to take on this music due to the racist manner (blackface makeup, derogatory humor) in which many of these songs were originaly presented over a century ago. But Michelle with both dignity and a really good sense of humor, tackled these classic songs of the American south, producing one of the best albums of her career. She gets plenty of help by being joined by a plethora of roots-music artists including the late Pops Staples, Taj Mahal, Gatemouth Brown, Doc Watson, Allison Krauss, Norman Blake, Hothouse Flowers, Uncle Tupelo ETC. With a group of journeymen such as these how could you go wrong? I love these tuneful classic songs, which can so easily get stuck in your brain. This happens everytime I hear her renditions of "Secret to a Long Life" or "Over the Waterfall". Sometimes I'll find myself singing these tunes for half the day, after hearing them. Other favorites include "Jump Jim Crow" (with it's Zippity Do-Dah ending), "Prodigal Daughter" & "Weaving Way". Finally there is the hilarious, spoken word routines of the song "Arkansas Traveler" ("Hey farmer... where does this road go to? Been livin' here all my life, it ain't gone no where yet!") I played these corny routines for my young nephews and it totally cracked them up into fits of laughter! For the longest time this CD was (criminally) out of print. It has now been re-released with crystal clear remastering and six bonus cuts featuring alternative takes and live renditions. I love this CD and highly recommend it!!