16 December 2022

More detached notes

Hank Smith (right), who has many videos of banjo advice and instruction on the Deering Live channel, now opens a new series, 'Thinking pianistically'. The first instalment shows:

how to take chord inversions all the way up the neck of the banjo utilizing open strings to make your position shifts more fluid. This technique will give you freedom to move all over the fingerboard and you can use this in improvising, composing, and more.

Hank, who is co-leader with Pattie Hopkins of the progressive bluegrass band Hank, Pattie & the Current, plans to travel to Ireland at the end of this month with Billie Feather (the Current's guitarist, who is also an educator) as a duo, and to be in Dublin from 29 Dec. to 7 Jan. Hank is also a friend of Dublin's Paddy Kiernan.
John Lawless reports on Bluegrass Today that Boston's Mile Twelve (left) have released a video of the song 'Johnny Oklahoma', written by the band's guitarist Evan Murphy. It is the second single to be released from their forthcoming album Close enough to hear, and can be seen on Bluegrass Today and on YouTube.
The Fretboard Journal (FJ) reports on the success of its 2022 Chicago Fretboard Summit, and announces next year's event for 24-26 Aug. 2023; VIP three-day all-access passes are now on sale. Meanwhile, issue 51 of the FJ is being posted to subscribers; and, more to the point for bluegrass people, the FJ website carries a podcast interview with mandolinist Sierra Hull and a video (also on YouTube) of her playing the composition 'Over the mountain'.
The Compass Records Group announce the coming release of two albums by former visitors to Ireland: Living in a song by Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley (headliners at the 2016 Dunmore East bluegrass festival), due out on 10 Feb. 2023; and The lovin' of the game by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (see the BIB for 10 Dec.), which is due out on 3 Mar. 2023. Both albums can be pre-ordered.
Kristy Cox, award-winning Australian singer who toured Ireland with her band in 2019 (thanks to mygrassisblue.com) and since moved to Nashville, TN, has a new single out on Billy Blue Records: a duet with Marty Raybon, 'Kentucky's never been this far from Tennessee'. It can be heard on Bluegrass Today.
Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol is playing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX, from 8 Dec. to 8 Jan. Dickens's classic story is moved to a 1930s Appalachian coal-mining area. The Guardian's reviewer finds its treatment over-sweet, but ends: 'If you come for Parton’s songs, you will most likely enjoy this show and the live band, whose instruments include the banjo, mandolin [and fiddle, guitar, and bass] and at one point the spoons. If only there were more music, less book.' Tickets can be booked here.

© Richard Hawkins

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