When Dave Carter unexpectedly died in 2002, the folk world lost a great, under-heard songwriter and singer. Since then, Tracy Grammer has quietly kept his songs and spirit alive. Theirs was an evolving musical partnership, with Grammer assuming more responsibility as time passed.
Carter’s songs were always their core. Grammer discovered the source tapes for these performances while cleaning a basement last summer. Recorded in their living room, none of the eleven songs sound like castoffs excised from previous releases. Rather, each is a fully realized creation simply waiting to be discovered. A few of the songs have appeared in different form on Tracy Grammer albums, but these recordings have never before been released.
Carter’s inclusive spirituality weaves through these songs. Whether spoken in the meditations of the truck driver “somewhere between midnight and the changin’ of tires” (‘Hard Edge of Livin’’) or the midnight vocalist singing “in praise or lamentation, in peace or desperation” (“Any Way I Do”), Carter and Grammer communicate messages of significance. The album’s standout may well be “Gypsy Rose,” a song that could have been sung by troubadours hundreds of years ago.
The album’s only non-original is a quiet, duo rendition of “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key,” a song from Billy Bragg & Wilco’s Mermaid Avenue; Grammer’s violin playing on this familiar song is especially evocative.
Little Blue Egg is that most treasured of offerings, an unexpected gift.