I ♥ the banjo.

Really, I just love bluegrass/string bands in general. Ever since I first heard Gillian Welsh sing “Elvis Presley Blues” (it was actually on a Starbucks compilation) I’ve been hooked. The song is actually on her Revelator record.  “Look at Miss Ohio” (Soul Journey) and “By the Mark” (Revival) have been worn out on their respective albums as well. I don’t know squat about writing music reviews, but I don’t know if there are enough words to describe how terrific Gillian Welsh is. All three records are good from beginning to end.

The Be Good Tanyas were discovered years ago  via the the Columbus Public Library. I just liked the cover of Blue Horse. Turns out it’s a great record. This deput album by the all girl Canadian band is still my favorite but Hello Love is another keeper. The cover of the Prince hit “When Doves Cry” alone make the Hello Love worth the purchase price. I apologize in advance if the song “Littlest Bird” is stuck in your head for days.

I can’t say I love everything by The Old Crow Medicine Show but the song “Wagon Wheel” is so freakin catchy. I’m one of those people that can listen to a song 12 times in a row and not get sick of it. This song was on repeat for days. (Is that Gillian Welsh standing by the table that reads “Exotic Ladies”???)

I’ve been itchin to hear some banjo. Luckly my emusic account refreshed itself today and this is what I dowloaded:

Abigail Washburn – Song of the Traveling Daughter.
Listened to excerpts and knew I had to have this. Reading one review I found out Washburn is in the all-female string band collective Uncle Earl. I think I’ll be downloading some of their stuff next month. The banjo on this record is nonother than Mr. Bela Fleck himself.

The Jolly Bankers – Tax Return
Another member of Uncle Earl (Kristin Andreassen) with fiddler Laura Cortese and banjo player Pierce Woodward. Only 5 track longs the album is both originals and traditional folk songs. It’s good, but not my favorite. Listen for yourself and see what you think.

Crooked Still – Shaken by a Low Sound
Buy This Now! The recordings are traditional folk songs and there’s even a Bob Dylan cover (as he was the greatest song writer alive. Period). No guitar. Just banjo, fiddle, cello and the amazing voice of Aoife O’Donovan. This is by far my favorite out of the bunch. I love it!

Chatman County Line – IV
The emusic review says, ” In performance, they remain true to the guitar-banjo-fiddle-mandolin-bass lineup gathered around a single microphone.” Sounds like a great live show! I’ll be keeping my eyes open for that. They are from North Carolina so I they may work their way through Virginia on tour? Let’s hope. This record has some pedal steel and piano. Again, not so hot at writing music reviews so I’ll just say: Good. Good. Good. The leadoff track “Chip of a Star is divine.

Robert Blackstock compiled eMusic Dozen: Young String Bands. When I saw the Be Good Tanyas and Gillian Welsh making the list I knew it would be a good one. Thanks for the great recommendations!

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1 Comment

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One response to “I ♥ the banjo.

  1. Pingback: My theme song « The Marks

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