16 September 2022

Art we can appreciate

The BIB editor writes:

This is not a paid ad for No Depression, but I compliment the magazine and its artist on the design (right) for the cover of its Fall 2022 print issue. I have seen, but can't now locate, a picture of a nineteenth-century banjo with a soundhole in the centre of the head.* In the 1980s Mark Cox revived the idea, and (on the advice of Don Reno) put the hole in the 'ten o'clock' position, which might have been a problem for the tracklaying crew shown in the picture.

By the way, No Depression published on 14 Sept. a review by Andy Crump of If it all goes south, the new album by Amy Ray. The review includes two YouTube videos of numbers from the album. In addition to being an activist for social justice and environmental causes, Ray is not a characteristic bluegrass singer; the songs in the videos, however, lend themselves well to a bluegrass treatment, and the instrumentation includes impeccable, imaginative banjo-playing by Alison Brown.

* A c.1920 Fred Van Eps Recording banjo, with the soundhole forward of centre, can be seen here.

© Richard Hawkins

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