The up-tempo banjo and fiddle-driven songs off the Duhks’ 2003 debut, Your Daughters & Your Sons (re-released without any special goodies by Sugar Hill), are played with deft precision and attention to the complex instrumental interplay. A five-piece from Winnipeg, the Duhks (pronounced “ducks”) often draw comparisons to Nickel Creek, the genre-splitting acoustic trio whose incorporation of funky rhythms, genius musicianship and emotive songwriting have earned it acclaim both within and outside of traditional folk circles. (Nickel Creek’s bassist, Mark Schatz, produced Your Daughters.)
And much like Nickel Creek, the slower tracks on Your Daughters — “The Leather Winged Bat,” and the gorgeous “Annabel” — show the oft-hyper-busy banjo and fiddle of acoustic bands playing a complementary backseat role to vocalists Jessica Harvey and eighteen-year-old Tania Elizabeth, who also expertly handles fiddle duties.
But where Nickel Creek stretches out using adept and creative songwriting to break categorization, the members of the Duhks — though they’re instrumental proficiency is beyond reproach — stay consistently and unassumingly close to home. Fans of traditional, folky, Celtic-influenced acoustic music should listen to “The Green Fields of Glentown” and “Giuliano’s Tune.” Those looking for a band to push the old-time boundaries of old-time music, however, might be slightly, and quietly, let down.