You is an old-school touring duo consisting of Jake Blount and Libby Weitnauer. Consisting of an accomplished musical couple in their own right, Blount and Weitnauer find part of their origins in studying the art of their inspirations – names such as Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens and Hubby Jenkins. Their new album, Nice little gentlemangoes deeper into uncovering the often-forgotten and long-standing history of African-American folk artists, passing through fiddlers like Frazier & Patterson, Cuje Bertram and Austin’s Teodar “Teolee” Jackson.
Ahead of the LP’s June 28 release, “Old Aunt Jessie Get Up in the Cool” is Tui’s interpretation of Jackson’s arrangement. Like every track that Nice little gentleman houses, Tui’s rendition of the song is done with great respect for its original artist. Reduced to fiddle, banjo and vocals, when played, their arrangement is a lens that offers an authentic view of Jackson’s intent. Without dwindling to the dazzling rhythm of by Weitnauer playing the violin along the way, she and Blount— an award-winning scholar and performer of black-string orchestral music — does wonders to both refresh an old folk song and bring it back to light.
Tui tells PopMatters, “Teodar Jackson was a black violinist from Texas whose expertise spanned multiple genres. Cajun, blues and ancient sounds all emerge in his playing. His improvisational and versatile musicality inspired us during the recording process. We worked to explore different speeds, moods and sonic textures on each track (and sometimes within a single track) just as he did. Jackson’s music has never been released to the public, and we’re thrilled to be the first musicians to record this song since Jackson did so in the late 1960s.”