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Baltimore Arts

Best Folk

Her Fantastic Cats

This town ain’t Austin, but we’ve got some pretty damn good folk performers and songwriters. But the genre, based on tradition, can sometimes seem at odds with the experimental ethos of the rest of the music scene. Her Fantastic Cats (Jason Reed) bridges that divide. With a clawhammer banjo, a raucous foot-stomping style, and a high and lonesome voice, his music is definitely in the old-time camp. But the insanely complicated and almost proggishly sophisticated compositions are far from traditional. Somehow it all works. At any given moment, you can think you’re listening to a straight-ahead folk song, but when you think about the eight-minute number as a whole, you start to scratch your head, especially when you realize he’s singing about a mother trapped in an Arby’s walk-in cooler. Her Fantastic Cats creates a new old music that loses no authenticity for all its ambition.

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