Musician, Composer, Producer, Writer


Washington Post, May 28, 2004
"Powell's Time Again is an extended family affair, a celebration of mountain music made with family and friends. A veritable stringband unto himself, Powell plays banjo, fretless banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and bass here, surrounded by first-rate pickers including guitarist Tim O'Brien and banjoist Riley Baugus. The music covers a wide swath of sounds, by turns charming, reeling, sparing, prayerful, and propulsive. Interspersed throughout are musical snippets featuring Powell's grandfather, Kentucky banjoist and guitarist James Clarence Hay - proof that the circle remains unbroken."

Sing Out! Magazine, Summer 2004
"... with Time Again, we finally get to hear Dirk's inspiration. His grandfather James Clarence Hay is featured on four of the tracks, recorded on cassette in Ashland, Kentucky in 1990. What a revelation! No wonder Dirk is such a fine and sensitive musician. His grandfather seems to be a very kind and gentle man who truly loved to impart the musical tradition to his grandson. What we have beyond the archival material is a set of dynamic old-time music with exciting results and lots of variety. Time Again is a very special recording and perhaps a turning point in the career of Dirk Powell. I can't wait for what's next."

No Depression, May-June 2004 (excerpt from feature article)
"Time Again is a celebration of the rebellious nature of old-time music. The album brings together the dark and the light, the fun and the misery, the lyricism and the all-about-the-music picking that makes traditional music such "a living thing," as Powell repeatedly refers to it."

Chase Farmer, Contributing Editor, An Honest Tune: The Journal of Southern Jam, 2004
“Time Again: Number 2 on list of Best Releases of 2004. "An old-time gem, complete with original material and Powell's consummate virtuosity."

Offbeat Magazine, April 2004
"Dirk's third solo effort revisits the dusty roads and bucolic scenescapes representing more than nine generations of Southern mountain stock. Frequently, the tunes possess an eerie ambience that recalls the mountains' unforgiving hardscrabble challenges. Whereas countless old-time records are waxed annually, only a few are capable of whisking you back a century or two. This is certainly one of them."

All Music Guide, 2004, by Rick Anderson
"There is not really anyone else like Dirk Powell on the American folk scene. An accomplished clawhammer banjo player, fiddler, and guitarist with a command of about a dozen different Appalachian traditions, he is also an heir (by marriage) to the rich Cajun musical heritage of the Balfa family, and plays a very fine accordion alongside his wife Christine Balfa in the band Balfa Toujours. Time Again focuses on Appalachian material, though, and is a warm and deeply affecting celebration of the music handed down to him by his grandfather and other family members; it includes one of the sweetest and loveliest renditions of "Prettiest Little Girl in the County" ever committed to tape (notice Powell's exquisitely tasteful banjo behind Jim Miller's lead vocal) as well as a wonderful Powell original titled "Waterbound" (no relation to the familiar traditional tune of the same name) and a whole slew of joyful instrumental dance numbers. The album ends with a hidden track that sounds like a home recording of Powell and his grandfather playing "Cripple Creek" together. Very highly recommended."

Planet Bluegrass, 2005
"This album more than lives up to the precedent set by Dirk's other solo albums on Rounder. He consistently sets the bar for "modern" old-time music--soulful, musical, and full of fresh ideas, yet always very true to the genre. This is an example of the best of what contemporary old-time music can be. Lovers of this style of music will enjoy the new takes on old favorites, and listeners who are new to the music will be entranced. Highly recommended."

Rambles, June 5, 2004
"Powell comes by his bluegrass roots honestly; one of his major influences was his grandfather James Clarence Hay, a Kentucky musician. Several tracks here feature the two together as they talk and play. Powell's touching liner notes leave no doubt that he is very conscious of the music's history and how he and his family have carried it on. Even the old fiddle used on this recording comes down from a cousin who fought in the Civil War.

Although there are a few originals here, the lion's share of the material is traditional tunes. Powell describes his haunting song "Waterbound" as a new song from an old place, and that is a fitting description.

Powell is a multi-instrumentalist who plays banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and bass. He also sings and, on various cuts, is assisted by other musicians such as Riley Baugus, Tom and Patrick Sauber, Travis Stuart, Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, Jim Miller and the Foghorn Stringband.

The program includes romping band numbers like "Texas Bells" and intense moody songs like "Mother's Little Children." Authenticity is a problematic concept when applied to traditional music, but this music is authentic in the sense that the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you hear it. As I listen to "Honey Babe," I can see the song's narrator hopping a freight train in the dead of night in some Appalachian coal-mining town. It's real in a way that music that uses bluegrass as a trapping is not. Powell gets down to the emotional root of the music, the joys and the sorrows of the people who created it.

Time Again is a fine disc of music by a modern practitioner who knows his heritage. Dirk Powell's music is a treasure that will be appreciated by any true lover of bluegrass."

Country Music Television, 2004, by Edward Morris
"Time Again is steeped in the Appalachian themes, melodies and cadences Powell learned from his grandfather. Indeed, he weaves snippets of his grandfather's picking and conversations throughout the album to create a stylistic continuum.