Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers return with new album, ‘The Long-Awaited Album’

Grammy Award-winning comedian and musician Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers return with new album, ‘The Long-Awaited Album’

 
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.
 

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Billy Strings’ Debut LP, Tinfoil & Turmoil, Out September 22nd

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Twisted Pine

Photo by Joanna Chattman
Photo by Joanna Chattman
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.

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Bluegrass Ramble Schedule Announced

IBMA logo
2017 Bluegrass Ramble at WOB - official logo

Schedule Announced:

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.]

BANDS and VENUES

Architect Bar & Social House: (108 East Hargett Street)
Tuesday, September 26:
7:00        Caroline Gallagher
8:00        Travers Chandler and Avery County
9:00        Mile Twelve
Wednesday, September 27:
7:00        Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
8:00        Sam Gleaves
9:00        Jonathan Byrd
Tuesday, September 26:
7:00        The Savage Hearts
8:00        Deer Creek Boys
9:00        FY5
Wednesday, September 27:
7:00        Richie and Rosie
8:00        The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
9:00        The Small Glories
Lincoln Theatre: (126 East Cabarrus Street)
Tuesday, September 26:
7:00        NewTown
8:00        Forlorn Strangers
9:00        The Lonely Heartstring Band
Wednesday, September 27:
7:00        Hank, Pattie & The Current
8:00        The Railsplitters
9:00        Fireside Collective
Pour House Music Hall: (224 South Blount Street)
Tuesday, September 26:
7:00        Cup O’ Joe
8:00        Molsky’s Mountain Drifters
9:00        Sheriff Scott and the Deputies
Wednesday, September 27:
7:00        The Slocan Ramblers
8:00        Quiles & Cloud
9:00        Mr Sun
Raleigh Convention Center Masters Workshop Stage (500 South Salisbury)
Tuesday, September 26:
7:00        Fireside Collective
7:35        The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
8:10        Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome
8:45        Salt and Light the Moore Family Band
9:20        The Railsplitters
Wednesday, September 27:
7:00        High Fidelity
7:35        The Price Sisters
8:10        Forlorn Strangers
8:45        Travers Chandler and Avery County
9:20        NewTown
Raleigh Convention CenterRoom 304 (500 South Salisbury)
Tuesday, September 26:
7:00        Quiles & Cloud
7:35        Richie and Rosie
8:10        Sam Gleaves
8:45        The Slocan Ramblers
9:20        Mr Sun
Wednesday, September 27:
7:00        Deer Creek Boys
7:35        Caroline Gallagher
8:10        Mile Twelve
8:45        FY5
9:20        Molsky’s Mountain Drifters
Vintage Church: (118 South Person Street)
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 art listing first round of featured artists
Wide Open Main Stage:
BUZZ-
WORTHY
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.

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Billie Reneé – Songs From The Heart

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
instruments.

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.

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Stuart Wyrick – East Tennessee Sunrise

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.

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Howdy Forrester and John Hartford – Home Made Sugar and a Punched Floor

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.”

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