The Okee Dokee Brothers - Through the Woods
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Through the Woods (Okee Dokee Music, 2014)

The Okee Dokee Brothers

Reviewed by Rick Bell

Since it takes time to plan a lengthy hiking trip, it should come as no surprise that it's been a couple of years since the Okee Dokee Brothers released "Can You Canoe." Following up on their Grammy-winning musical adventure down the Mississippi River, the Brothers - Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing - embarked on a more landlocked trip along the storied Appalachian Trail. The pair hiked and camped for a month along the trail popularized in author Bill Bryson's book "A Walk in the Woods."

While the songs that came out of their East Coast trek don't quite hit the precocious, elusive balance between catchy kid word play and parent-pleasing tunes as did the river cruise. Still, the Brothers deliver a knapsack-full of clever cuts.

Assisted by trail mates like Hubby Jenkins of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and multi-instrumentalist David Holt, musically "Through the Woods" draws inspiration from its Appalachian surroundings. The traditional "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is sans-alcohol references, getting a more kid-friendly treatment. And it doesn't matter if "Hillbilly Willy" is a fictional friend; this is a great song. "Jamboree" is a fun romp and "Fiddlestick Joe" is another creative trailside character.

As with "Can You Canoe," there's an accompanying video. The scenery is gorgeous, and it's easy to get caught up in the allure a hike in the woods as songs drift in and out in the background. First they sailed through the Midwest, and now the Okee Dokees have traipsed through the East Coast. No matter where their next trip leads them, you can bet it'll be an adventure worth putting into song and pictures.


CDs by The Okee Dokee Brothers

Winterland, 2018 Through the Woods, 2014 Can You Canoe? A Mississippi River Adventure Album, 2012


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