Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller – “Roving Gambler” (audio) (premiere)

The West Virginia duo offer an authentic look at America's rich folk heritage on this cover.

With deep roots in folk music Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller offer an authentic look at America’s rich folk heritage on their latest album Deep End Sessions. With Milnes’s fiddle and Miller’s guitar — not to mention a harmonizing voice that echoes ancient recording of the Carter Family — the West Virginia-based duo are absolutely convincing on the classic traditional “Roving Gambler”.

“While this arrangement is influenced by the Stanley Brothers there’s a bit more history to ‘Roving Gambler’ we’d like to celebrate,” says producer David Bunn. “Jesse and Emily pay tribute to some strong women in the history of old-time and country music on this record, but no one was perhaps as pioneering and influential as Samantha Bumgarner from Jackson County, NC, who first recorded this traditional tune in April, 1924. Invited by Columbia Records to NYC, she and her friend, Eva Davis, were the first women to sing and play on a country music recording. That day in 1924 they laid down ten historic tracks, ‘The Gamblin’ Man’, or ‘Roving Gambler’, being one of them, performed as an instrumental by Samantha Bumgarner. She played the five string banjo in traditional claw hammer style, becoming the first Appalachian five string banjo player of either sex to cut a commercial record. These recordings pre-dated the Carter Family’s famous Bristol Sessions by three years.”

Deep End Sessions is out now.