21 October 2022

Detached notes

Fiddler Jason Carter, who first played here in Galway in 1994 when he was a relative newcomer to the Del McCoury Band, will soon be releasing a solo album (recorded with a supporting galaxy of leading musicians), Lowdown hoedown. A month ago (14 Sept.) a single was released from it, 'King of the hill', a 1998 Bruce Hornsby composition. You can now hear Jason perform the song with two sets of colleagues:
  • Russ Carson (banjo), Sam Bush (mandolin), Cody Kilby (guitar), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Dennis Crouch (bass), from the studio recording, on Bluegrass Today; and
  • Cory Walker (banjo), Ashby Frank (mandolin), Cody Kilby (guitar), Alan Bartram (bass), videoed in a backstage warmup session at the Station Inn, Nashville, TN, which can be seen on the Bluegrass Situation or on YouTube.
More details of the album are on the latest McCoury e-newsletter.
Tom Nechville, the most innovative banjo-designer/ builder of the last half-century (and a frequent presence and exhibitor at successive Johnny Keenan Banjo Festivals), has retired from direct management of Nechville Musical Products and set up a shop, Banjos West, in Oregon. More details are in John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today. Tom's stock includes banjos from other makers; the Nechville instruments include a custom 6-string which can be set up either as a banjo-guitar or as a 5+1 banjo.

The website also has a link to a 17-minute video from YouTube in which the members of We Banjo 3 share 'Irish folk tips' on their playing techniques. In the last four minutes, Enda Scahill's section, entitled 'Creating the ideal banjo', shows the details of his custom Nechville instrument, with a longer neck to give more mellowness and resonance than a normal Irish tenor, and its unique turquoise inlays.
Sandy Hatley has posted on Bluegrass Today an obituary of Willie Elisabeth Burton Daniel, 'Little Billie Briarhopper', who died on 1 October at the age of 98. She was the last survivor of the original members of the WBT Briarhoppers, founded in 1934 as the radio station's 'hillbilly family band', and was an important contributor to the published history of the band, The WBT Briarhoppers: eight decades of a bluegrass band made for radio (2008) by Thomas and Lucy Warlick. Her career, both as a Briarhopper and later, is part of the major developments in American music, radio, and advertising in the mid twentieth century. Our condolences go out to her family and friends.
Finally, if you're well acquainted with traditional bluegrass song lyrics, we recommend the latest piece in Chris Jones's 'From the side of the road' series: 'Find your true bluegrass spirit animal'. Happy weekend!

© Richard Hawkins

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