New press for "Second Avenue Square Dance," Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys (Traditional Crossroads)
Top 10 World CD of 2008 - Star-Ledger
On its sophomore album, the Boys (including leader Margot Leverett) move past their two raucous source materials -- klezmer and bluegrass -- to create songs that are heartfelt and surprisingly elegant. --- Marty Lipp
Best Roots CD of 2008 -- City Paper, Philadelphia
Leverett continues to blend her klezmer clarinet with famed bluegrass instrumentalists like Barry Mitterhoff (mandolin) and Kenny Kosek (fiddle) on tunes drawn from both traditions. A surprise vocal on "Little Moses" from the queen of mountain sound, Hazel Dickens, makes this CD a surefire winner.
Top 10 Country, Folk and Blues albums of 2008 -- Montreal Gazette
Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys: 2nd Avenue Square Dance (Traditional Crossroads/Fusion III). Klezmer clarinetist Leverett, her band of bluegrass virtuosos and some great guest stars, offer a delightful fusion of klezmer with bluegrass and other roots styles.
The most prominent Jewgrass band at the moment, the musicians blend classic bluegrass with what could be called classic klezmer by whipsawing from one to the other within a single song.
Read more: www.forward.com
Leverett's efforts capture the epic joy and profound tribulations both of the Jewish diaspora and the experience of European immigrants (especially from Scotland and Ireland) in the U.S.
KlezmerShack review of "Second Avenue Square Dance" by Keith Wolzinger:
Overall, this is a fabulous album, and I can easily recommend it. The band does a very credible job of being true to both of the musical traditions on the album, and then blends them in a very creative and ear-pleasing way. I’m ready to pay a visit to Klezmer Mountain. www.klezmershack.com
KlezmerShack Review: Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys live at "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" Oct 1-3, 2010
There are so many times I tell people what kind of music I play and they have never heard of it. Think of the thousands now, (and there were at Hardly Strictly) that now have a new knowledge of klezmer, and with Margot’s amazing chops via Sid Beckerman she plays like the true Klezmer player she is, with a twist.
"I came across Margot's music and it was so very expressive and exciting. It was so very perfect for dancing."
Paul Taylor's Marvelous Melting Pot
By Sarah Kaufman
"The sense of something new and wonderful emerging from mixed traditions bursts out of "Klezmerbluegrass," the new work by Paul Taylor that opened his company's magnificent program Thursday night at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. It is clear before the curtain goes up, in Margot Leverett's lyrical arrangement of klezmer and bluegrass music. The mosaic is there at all once: the swooping, supple notes of the clarinet, the wailing violin, the loping guitar that quickens the pace, joined by bright, lift-you-out-of-your-seat fiddling."
"Klezmer and bluegrass sound as if they were meant to be combined. At least that's the conclusion after listening to this terrific album. Leverett & the Klezmer Mountain Boys have given us a wonderful gift"
"Cut after cut, this CD is gorgeous, inspired playing"
"In the Klezmer Mountain Boys, Mitterhoff plays Bill Monroe mandolin while Leverett plays Sid Beckerman clarinet, a cool and captivating kvetching clarinet that flutters and soars, pokes and prods, whistles and wails. As two worlds collide, Southern fiddle tunes meet klezmer melodies from pre-war Russia and Eastern Europe leaving the audience in awe."
"Leverett's clarinet is a joy to hear as it blends and trades licks and lines with the stringed instruments.
"Suddenly, bluegrass comes in an array of colors".
The Berkshire Eagle
"a common ground between the high, lonesome sound of bluegrass and the poignant cry of klezmer"
"Elegant, soulful playing"
"This is the sort of album that causes the listener to stop, periodically, just to listen and to relisten to the virtuosity and skill with which bluegrass and klezmer, and most important, just plain old music are turned into celebrations of all that makes us dance, or think, or celebrate."
"Leverett is one of the top clarinetists in New Klez and the idea of a klezmer-bluegrass fusion is an original and striking one. A very entertaining record and the band is top-notch."
The American Jewish World
"The Carpathians meet the Appalachians in this brilliant klezmer-bluegrass fusion album"
"Their ensemble ability is just spectacular."
"Master 're-arranger' Margot Leverett gently whisks listeners from the Black Mountains to Mount Sinai. There is plenty of toe-tapping (if not foot-stomping) fun."
"Can you play bluegrass on the clarinet? Margot Leverett is giving it a whirl with the Klezmer Mountain Boys."
"Imagine a shotgun marriage between the music from "O Brother Where Art Thou" and that band from your cousin's wedding and that will only begin to describe the Klezmer Mountain Boys."
New Jersey Jewish News
"a seamless and highly enjoyable fusion that sounds completely natural
All About Jazz
"The common denominator is of course Leverett, and this founding mother of klezmer's new wave is very much at home as mistress of ceremonies. Her clarinet laughs and sobs as she displays her prodigious klezmer chops"
Time Out New York
"Klezmer Mountain Boys blend bluegrass and klezmer. Unsurprisingly -- since bluegrass incorporates a lot of old European folk elements -- it really works."
The Klezmer Mountain Boys will stun and delight you...borscht and grits never tasted so good."
The News Record
"It's really an adventurous experiment, and exciting concept. Audiences have to guess whether the lively or mournful music is Klezmer or Bluegrass, and it's actually fun to try to figure it all out. Margot Leverett, a petite, extraordinarily talented young woman with a generous smile, played the best of the best of Klezmer on her remarkable clarinet and occasional saxophone, and the sounds that came out had the audience in a state of euphoria, which turned into excitement and thrills. Entertaining? Yes. Unique? Yes. A musical adventure to be continued in the future? Oh, yes, indeed!"
The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover's Guide to Jewish Roots and Soul, by Seth Rogovoy
"Never have I heard bluegrass and klezmer blend so naturally and effortlessly."
The Boston Herald
"Margot Leverett & the Klezmer Mountain Boys" (Traditional Crossroads) never loses hold of the village roots of this European Jewish music. The brilliant clarinetist Leverett, a former Klezmatic, makes a clever, intricate chamber-music invention here. Bluegrass infiltrates slyly and subtly on several tunes of this deep, beautiful album, but klezmer dominates...American Jews have been making great bluegrass music for more than 40 years, and fiddler Kenny Kosek and guitarist Barry Mitterhoff are among the genre's leading lights. With Leverett, they show that an old-world shtetl and a Kentucky one-horse town do not exist in different worlds."
Selections from Margot Leverett's Reviews
"Margot Leverett is one of the finest clarinetists to emerge from the klezmer revival...Leverett's clarinet, crying with sorrow or bursting with shouts of joy, speaks with the highly inflected vocabulary of the great players to whom the recording pays tribute."
"This is the classic sound of Eastern European-derived clarinet played by a master and a worthy addition to the new generation of klezmer recording... Among the stellar soloists on the scene."
CMJ New Music Report
"Her extensive classical training lends an elegance and seriousness that makes the music even more riveting. Her early avant-garde background keeps the music fresh and exciting. And her first-hand lessons learned with true klezmer masters gives her music authenticity and poignancy."
The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Her haunting riffs, echoing with tears and mocking laughter, evoked memories of the shtetls of Eastern Europe, where klezmer originated." "Margot Leverett plays a virtuoso clarinet."
"Margot Leverett is dynamite."
The Klezmer Shack
"Margot Leverett, whose playing I have always enjoyed, showed that she is the equal of any clarinet player today. This isn't just klezmer or Yiddish anymore, it is identity and who we are."
All About Jazz
"Margot Leverett's elegant style and judicious use of ornamentation is more in the tradition of the great Shloimke Beckerman. Her trio's performance of "Tayere Odessa" is a thing of beauty."