Recorded in a shack up on Old Sand Mountain in Alabama, 'Saw Mill Man' by Cast King sounds like a great lost recording from Harry Smith's vault.
Cast King and his former band The Country Drifters recorded with Sam Phillips at Sun Studios in the 50's, however with limited success the band broke up and King left his music career behind him in the early 60's. Virtually disappearing for four decades, he was tracked down by Matt Downer, an Alabama native, who started making field recordings of local Sand Mountain musicians when he realized that a generation of songwriters and performers were dying out without ever being recorded. All the musicians that Downer recorded talked of one particular songwriter with high esteem, Cast King.
Author of approximately 500 songs, Cast King was 79 years old when Downer coaxed him into recording what would end up being his debut album. The result, 'Saw Mill Man', made during a series of 'picking sessions' recorded either to 4-track or onto mini disc sounds like something akin to Johnny Cash drenched in sepia and whiskey.
'Saw Mill Man' is a revelation of a record containing some of the best drinking and heartbreak songs you are ever likely to hear.
Cast King & Matt Downer - Alabama Arts Radio Series-Interview (MP3)
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