‘The Long-Awaited Album’ due out 22nd September via Rounder/Decca Records
Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers will release “The Long-Awaited Album” on Rounder Records/Decca Records on 22nd September. “The Long-Awaited Album,” Martin’s newest collaboration with the Grammy-winning North Carolina-based band the Steep Canyon Rangers, is full of stories that mix humour and melancholy, whimsy and realism, rich characters and concrete details. And lots of banjos.
That instrument – so dexterously, even acrobatically picked and strummed – is just as crucial to relating these new tales as the lyrics themselves, each chord and riff revealing new depths to Martin’s narrators and to his musical talent. Produced by Peter Asher, the new album is a collection of 14 stunning new songs including the boisterous and humorous new track “Caroline,” the deeply romantic tune “All Night Long,” and the fantastical song “Santa Fe,” which showcases the lively dynamic between Martin and the Rangers.
Steve Martin’s musical career is an extension of the storytelling impulse that drove his work as a comedian, an actor, a screenwriter, a playwright, an essayist, and a novelist. The Grammy® Award winning musician found his love for the banjo at the age of 17 and originally used the instrument as part of his stand-up comedy routine. But in 2010, Martin released his first album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-Strong Banjo, and since then, Martin has played many prestigious stages including Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Stagecoach, Bonnaroo, New Orleans’ Jazzfest and The Newport Folk Festival, Royal Festival Hall in London, and the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Martin released his second full-length bluegrass album Rare Bird Alert in 2011. The album featured 13 Martin-penned tracks as well as special guest vocal appearances by Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chicks. Additionally, Martin co-wrote two of the CD’s songs with the Steep Canyon Rangers. That year, Martin also won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.
Martin also collaborated with Edie Brickell on the critically acclaimed album Love Has Come For You, which combines Martin’s five-string banjo work with Brickell’s vivid vocals. Martin and Brickell took home the Grammy® Award for “Best American Roots Song” for the album’s title track. Martin and Brickell’s second collaboration “So Familiar” earned widespread critical acclaim and also inspired the Broadway musical Bright Star, which was nominated for five Tony Awards.
The Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin will host their album release celebration on Saturday, set 30 2017 at The IBMA World of Bluegrass – in the state where it all began for them.
We’re thrilled to announce that Billy Strings’ new record is coming September 22nd and we have released the title track today! No Depression calls it “ferocious” and that is truly an apt descriptor. This record is the first material solely under Billy’s name and veers into some hardcore psychedelia without losing the virtuosic playing that Billy Strings is known for.
It’s at about five minutes and thirty seconds into the second track (“Meet Me At the Creek”) on the debut LP, Turmoil & Tinfoil, from Nashville bluegrass iconoclast Billy Strings that you start to see his intense vision for American roots music. It’s right after a jagged, spiraling solo from Billy’s mandolinist Drew Matulich, when Billy’s guitar starts aggressively stacking power chords and suddenly leaps into a screaming acoustic guitar solo that twists its way through a dark-Cthulhu bluegrass jam. This vision is echoed in the hallucinatory album art, and in “Spinning,” a spoken-word track that recounts a psychedelic-fueled dreamscape. Billy Strings plays hard and he lives hard, picking so fast and intensely that he’s known to break multiple strings per song, and basing the songs he writes on the hard lives he grew up around in the abandoned rural communities of America. At the same time, he’s one of the most beloved young bluegrass guitarists today within the bluegrass community, and his front porch in East Nashville is constantly filled up with Nashville’s best roots musicians just picking up a storm. That’s how he can balance blazingly-intense, mind-expanding musical explorations with straight-up traditional bluegrass: he doesn’t see them as being any different. They both have the same white-hot core: a realization that the best way to be taken seriously in music is to blow people’s minds.
The tricky part of making the new album, Turmoil & Tinfoil, was translating Billy Strings’ incendiary live show into the studio. Many bands have fallen flat capturing the energy of live performances, and very few bands play live with the kind of ferocity that Billy generates, whether performing with icons like Del McCoury, David Grisman, Sam Bush, Hot Rize, or tearing down the roof at any myriad of roots festivals across the US, all of which earned him massive word-of-mouth buzz leading into this new full-length album. Returning to his home state of Michigan, Billy enlisted acoustic roots wizard Glenn Brown (Greensky Bluegrass) as producer, and centered the music around his new band, featuring Matulich on mandolin with banjo prodigy Billy Failing and much-loved Nashville bassist Brad Tucker. Rich with special guests, Turmoil & Tinfoil shows off Billy’s East Nashville community of picking friends, among them Miss Tess, Molly Tuttle, John Mailander, Shad Cobb and Peter Madcat Ruth. Of special note is a virtuosic duet between Billy and bluegrass guitarist Bryan Sutton on “Salty Sheep” that shows the speed, precision, and creative craftsmanship of bluegrass when it’s done right. Rounding out the album, Billy’s father Terry Barber joins him on a newly-written bluegrass song, “These Memories of You.” As Billy says, “I grew up pickin’ and singing with my Dad and I remember falling in love with not just a specific song, but just the way that real mountain bluegrass harmony sounds. The high vocal part soars above the lead and there’s really nothing better than singing with someone and having that harmony lock into place.”
Billy Strings came to the tradition honestly, a fourth-generation musician who grew up playing this music with friends and understanding that bluegrass jamming was a means to build a community and to make connections. But at the same time, he’s come up in a modern world, in modern times, and doesn’t see the music as a relic. Instead, he’s infused it with the heavy metal and punk that he also grew up with, embellished the songs with deep references to psychedelic adventuring, and based everything he does on his undeniable virtuosity as one of the most fire-breathing guitarists in American roots music today.
Turmoil & Tinfoil Track List:
1. On The Line 2. Meet Me at the Creek 3. All of Tomorrow 4. While I’m Waiting Here 5. Living Like an Animal 6. Turmoil & Tinfoil 7. Salty Sheep 8. Spinning 9. Dealing Despair 10. Pyramid Country 11. Doin’ Things Right 12. These Memories of You 13. 107
Billy Strings & Whiskey Shivers – The “Whiskey Strings” Tour
Thursday September 14 – Durham, NC – WUNC Back Porch Friday, September 15th – Asheville, NC – Downtown After Five Sunday, September 17th – Richmond, VA – The Broadberry Tuesday, September 19th – Baltimore, MA – The 8×10 Wednesday, September 20th – Washington DC – Black Cat Thursday September 21st – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle Friday, September 22nd – Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade Saturday, September 23rd – Lenox, MA – Lenox Apple Squeeze Sunday, September 24th – Boston, MA – Great Scott Monday, September 25th – Burlington, VA – Higher Ground Showcase Lounge Wednesday, September 27th – Buffalo, MY – Buffalo Iron Works Thursday, September 28th – Columbus, OH – Woodlands Tavern Friday, September 29th – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar Saturday, September 30th – Gatlinburg, TN – Sugarlands Mountain Fest Sunday, October 1st – Charleston, SC – The Pour House Tuesday, October 10th – Detroit, MI – Otus Supply Wednesday, October 11th – Indianapolis, Indiana – The HiFi Thursday, October 12th – Milwaukee, WI – Back Room at colectivo Friday, October 13th – Chicago, IL – Shubas Friday, October 14th – Chicago, IL – Shubas Sunday, October 15th – St. Paul, MN – Turf Wednesday, October 25th – Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern Thursday, October 26th – Bend, OR – Volcanic Theatre Pub Friday, October 27th – Eugene, OR – WOW Hall Saturday, October 28th – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall Tuesday, October 31st – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill Wednesday, November 1st – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo Friday, November 3rd – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar Saturday, November 4th – Phoenix, AZ – Last Exit Live Saturday, November 5th – Albuquerque, NM – The Dirty Bourbon
Full of energy and surprise, wit and subtlety, Twisted Pine has quickly become one of the most acclaimed young string bands in the Northeast. Audiences across the US and UK have been drawn to their forthright songwriting, lush harmonies, musical daring, and “charismatic appeal,” to quote Grammy-winner Alison Brown.
In its early days, Twisted Pine hewed pretty close to its bluegrass origins, but over time the quartet has developed a unique, infectious style without limits. Moving beyond the standard verse-chorus-solo structure of traditional string bands, Twisted Pine is a multilayered ensemble that brings the enveloping sound and pop hooks of indie music to an acoustic instrumental setting.
Guitarist Rachel Sumner and fiddler Kathleen Parks share the vocal mic, forming a combination as charming as it is gutsy. Whether switching off leads or blending and bending their voices into unexpected harmonies, these front-women are a commanding presence. On her instrument, Parks is an insatiable risk-taker, seeking out exciting new improvisational territories. Mandolinist Dan Bui is a master of melody and drive, celebrated widely for his dexterous, tasteful picking. And bassist Chris Sartori holds down the low end and a lot more, introducing creative, jazz-inflected cadences that never overwhelm the beat.
But while it’s easy to celebrate each of the band members individually, Twisted Pine isn’t just a collection of talented musicians. It’s a unit that grooves together. Intricate arrangements of swelling, syncopated rhythm and precise instrumental interplay generate something big and vital: a thick landscape of sound built on an organic acoustic foundation. It’s a fitting context for original songs written with equal parts passion and intelligence, adding up to music that lies at the intersection of heartrending and heart-racing.
You’ll find Twisted Pine on stages large and small, entertaining festivals of thousands and intimate rooms alike. Winners of the 2014 Freshgrass band competition and finalists at the 2015 Rockygrass contest, Twisted Pine has played major events from Greyfox to Green River to Glasgow’s Celtic Connections and beyond. “Their live show is already legendary for the band’s unbridled spirit and contagious energy,” says Jim Olsen, president of the innovative folk label Signature Sounds (Lake Street Dive, Crooked Still, Joy Kills Sorrow). It’s no wonder the International Bluegrass Music Association nominated Twisted Pine for its 2015 Momentum Award, which recognizes exceptional up-and-coming acts.
Bluegrass Ramble Official Showcases September 26-28
At 2017’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC, we’ll feature these 30 Official Showcase artists. They were selected from more than 160 submissions representing the vitality of bluegrass from its traditional roots to its furthest offshoots all around the world. Learn more about the Bluegrass Ramble acts.
Want to experience the Bluegrass Ramble? An IBMA Business Conference badge (buy now—first-time attendee discount offered) or Bluegrass Ramble wristband (buy now) will get you into all venues. Admission into a single club will be sold at the door for $10.[WOB Business Conference registrants do not need to purchase Bluegrass Ramble tickets.]
Tuesday, September 26 7:00 The Price Sisters 8:00 Cane Mill Road 9:00 High Fidelity
Wednesday, September 27 7:00 Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome 8:00 Flats and Sharps 9:00 Salt and Light the Moore Family Band
I C Y M I
Wide Open Main Stage:
Wide Open Main Stage
You won’t find this lineup anywhere else! Bluegrass greats, emerging stars, one-of-a-kind jams. You’ll hear eighteen incredible acts in two days. One- and two-day tickets with good seats still available. You have to experience this!
And every ticket purchase benefits the Bluegrass Trust Fund.
Perhaps the surest sign that bluegrass has grown to a mature musical
form is the fact that it has now segmented itself into a number of
subsets. Each has its own dedicated following, with artists catering to
the style, labels that record and promote the music, agencies that
specialize in promoting it, and festivals committed to preserving it.
There is the traditional sound, what used to just be called
bluegrass, the more progressive style where performers use the common
instruments associated with Bill Monroe to play music that bears little
resemblance to his Blue Grass Boys, and looser configurations that merge
folk, swing, and grassy approaches to original music. There are the jam
grass bands that take after The Grateful Dead, and the retro grass
outfits that take us back to the 1950s. There are even bands intent on
recreating the music of the big ’80s rock groups, with acoustic
That all this is viewed generically as “bluegrass” serves our music
well in the main, though it can lead to confusion among some consumers.
And like all factions, each surely feels that their is the “true
bluegrass,” the one that will win out in the end.
Perhaps the largest component these days is what might be called
contemporary bluegrass, given to tightly-crafted songs, more
sophisticated arrangements, and high-level instrumentalists, delivered
by skilled vocalists. It retains most of the elements that defined the
earliest examples of the music, and has begun to absorb what a few years
ago was known as acoustic country. And the further that pop country
moves away from its traditions, the bigger the door for bluegrass to
incorporate that sound.
This is where an artist like Billie Reneé Johnson shines, in this contemporary bluegrass realm, and where she is likely to find a great many fans thanks to her new Songs From The Heart album from Truegrass Entertainment.
It shows her to be a fine bluegrass singer, with a very attractive
voice, and the power and range to sing this music with the aggressive
edge that has become its hallmark.
Wyrick has played banjo with a number of bluegrass groups including the Dale Ann Bradley Band and Brand New Strings and is now a member of Flashback.
His new solo release features top–name bluegrass musicians and a host
of excellent singers.
No one sings “Walking the Floor Over You” like its composer, Ernest Tubb. Originally recorded with just Tubb and Fay “Smitty” Smith on electric guitar, he re–recorded it with the Troubadors. Fiddler Bobby Atcheson doesn’t get air time in this version of Tubb’s many renditions but Tim Crouch shares the kickoff on Wyrick’s version with Keith Garrett singing lead and Kenny Smith covering Billy Byrd’s spot on lead guitar.
In Their Words: “Brand new release of a set of home
recordings made by John Hartford and fiddling legend Howdy Forrester.
This recording preserves a repertoire of many rare, old Hickman County,
Tennessee, tunes that Howdy had learned as a boy from his Great Uncle,
Bob Cates. Hartford plays banjo, Forrester fiddles, and the two share
informal discussion about the tunes and their sources.”