Pickers: a catchall thread for modern bluegrass, nu-old-time music, rootsy americana string bands, etc.

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I've been on a huge bluegrass and flatpicked guitar kick lately, teaching myself a lot of fiddle tunes, taking lessons, even went to a local bluegrass jam. So I've been listening to a lot of Bryan Sutton, Tony Rice, Norman Blake, and to an extent guys like Noam Pikelny, Chris Thile, Bela Fleck, and have been heavily into a new guy named Jake Eddy as well. Just figured we could use a thread for this somewhat ILM-neglected genre.

For starters, this has been my enter fall mood song lately:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS4Wj2khD-s

It's beautiful imo. Every fall I have one of these, it's always melancholic, and when I get bored of it I know my SAD has fully set in.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 29 September 2021 22:10 (four weeks ago) link

you into Jerry Douglas?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu0gko-PqeI

brimstead, Wednesday, 29 September 2021 22:31 (four weeks ago) link

subscribe

FWIW I play mandolin and bouzouki and guitar, in mostly acoustic settings. To an extent, this should be my wheelhouse. There's a lot of Americana and nu-old-tymey in the set lists of the bands I support. I respect man alive's approach. But it is not for me - I suck at memorizing single-note stuff. I play chordally, or chordally with embellishment.

Extinct Namibian shrub genus: Var. (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 29 September 2021 22:54 (four weeks ago) link

Jerry Douglas is good, although I haven't listened to that much. I'll try to just keep posting things I'm digging lately.

Jake Eddy's rearrangement of Goodbye Liza Jane:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urU6vFU6Ijk

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 1 October 2021 18:28 (three weeks ago) link

I love this Bryan Sutton duet with Russ Barenberg (that's Russ doing the opening lead, which sounds otherworldly)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzT8TiNMB3I

The name Big Sciota is funny and makes me think of sciatica.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 1 October 2021 18:29 (three weeks ago) link

Am I gonna get eaten alive if I bring up Billy Strings itt? Really digging him lately and he feels so much more "genuine" (for lack of a better word) than the legions of bluegrass leaning jam inspired bands we've suffered heard from over the last twenty years. Like normally any bluegrass artist that is embraced by the jam scene sends up "DO NOT WANT" warning lights, but Strings has gained a huge following and still seems to keep bluegrass front and center in his sound, while still exploring and pushing the edges with it (as opposed to say, Phish or whoever that just drops in a token "bluegrass" song now and then).

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Friday, 1 October 2021 21:42 (three weeks ago) link

all correct, imo

dude rips

alpine static, Saturday, 2 October 2021 05:03 (three weeks ago) link

you can take that to mean he is cool or he's a hell of a player

both are true

alpine static, Saturday, 2 October 2021 05:04 (three weeks ago) link

in case you haven't discovered the transatlantic sessions

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsD4snTewqA

that's not my post, Saturday, 2 October 2021 05:22 (three weeks ago) link

Is there anyone who has a problem with Billy Strings? I thought he was pretty much unfuckwithable

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Sunday, 3 October 2021 01:58 (three weeks ago) link

I never heard of the guy, but I cast a gimlet eye on certain newer bluegrass acts until someone I trust gives me the signal so I think I will give this Billy Strings fellow a listen.

He POLLS So Much About These Zings (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 3 October 2021 02:09 (three weeks ago) link

For instance I, like Yanc3y before me, never really liked the Bad Livers that much.

He POLLS So Much About These Zings (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 3 October 2021 02:11 (three weeks ago) link

I don't know those guys really well, but he seems like he's about 5x the player they are.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Sunday, 3 October 2021 02:23 (three weeks ago) link

One album I've been enjoying lately is the improbably titled/covered "I've Got a Bulldog" by Bigfoot - which, contrary to what you'd expect, is a very straightforward ensemble old time music record (albeit one with really nice, lively energy) and not a late 90s alt rock record.

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mSWFchBocDVg0eeL3TD6L37qL9yZ6E1Fo

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Sunday, 3 October 2021 02:25 (three weeks ago) link

There’s a group called the Harmolodic String Band recording bluegrassy versions of Ornette Coleman tunes:

https://harmolodicstringband.bandcamp.com/album/the-shape-of-grass-to-come-vol-1

I saw the Bad Livers open for the Butthole Surfers in 1990 or so. In that context they were fine.

I once saw the Ebony Hillbillies playing in Penn Station in NYC and bought one of their CDs. They ruled.

but also fuck you (unperson), Sunday, 3 October 2021 03:00 (three weeks ago) link

haha, I was just talking about the Harmolodic String Band. Actually, I sort of feel like I willed them into retroactive existence, because I was talking to a friend about how something in a Tony Rice solo sounded like Ornette to me, and then I made some kind of pretentious (and probably stretched) connection between bluegrass and Ornette, and then it came to me later that day "The Shape of Grass to Come" - what a great idea. Except it had been done. And btw I really like it, it's really good. I wish there was more of it.

This track works esp well I think
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DsYCZYPxw0

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Sunday, 3 October 2021 03:07 (three weeks ago) link

Chris Thile is playing 10 mins from me. It would probably be a good show, but his persona and his facial expressions really irk me and I don’t know if I can stand watching him for an hour or more.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 4 October 2021 16:16 (three weeks ago) link

Is there anyone who has a problem with Billy Strings? I thought he was pretty much unfuckwithable

Not so much around here maybe but there are definitely corners of the internet that look askance at pretty much any bluegrass player who is young, successful and getting profiles in the NY Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/27/arts/music/billy-strings-renewal.html

Thought that was actually a good profile, had no idea his childhood was that rough.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 4 October 2021 19:56 (three weeks ago) link

Speaking of Ornettegrass:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGVIrck0pNI

dow, Monday, 4 October 2021 22:22 (three weeks ago) link

Reminds me of something I posted during a Rolling Country discussion of Americana:

I think Americana should mainly be what you make of it, from what you're looking for and what you come across, in any event. As with true cratedigger and trashdiver Harry Smith putting together The Smithsonian Anthology of American Folk Music, or more likely, something like this re Colorado etc.:

Some Saturday nights there were barn dances, way out in Elgin or Sonoita. In barns. Everybody from miles and miles would go, old people, young people, babies, dogs. Guests from dude ranches. All of the women brought things to eat. Fried chicken and potato salad, cakes and pies and punch. The men would go out in bunches and hang around their pickups, drinking. Some women too, my mother always did. High school kids got drunk and threw up, got caught necking. Old ladies danced with each other and children. Everybody danced.
Two-step mostly, but some slow dances and jitterbug. Some square dances and Mexican dances like La Varsoviana. In English it's "Put your little foot, put your little foot right there," and you skip and whirl around. They played everything from "Night and Day" to "Detour, There's a Muddy Road Ahead," "Jalisco no te Rajas" to "Do the Hucklebuck." Different bands every night but the same kind of mix.
Where did these raging wonderful musicians come from? Pachuco horns and guitar players, big-hatted country guitarists, bebop drummers, piano-players that looked like Fred Astaire. The closest I ever heard anything come close to those little bands was at the Five Spot in the late fifties. Ornette Coleman's "Ramblin'." Everybody raving how new and far-out he was. Sounded Tex-Mex to me, like a good Sonoita hoedown.

------Lucia Berlin, "Homing"

dow, Monday, 4 October 2021 22:31 (three weeks ago) link

Lucia Berlin is so good. Believe she was married to a jazz musician for a while, can’t remember his name.

He POLLS So Much About These Zings (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 4 October 2021 22:39 (three weeks ago) link

who wrote the Billy Strings thing for the NYT? i don't have a subscription.

alpine static, Tuesday, 5 October 2021 06:19 (three weeks ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfLJvXNeY-M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7FrSTXJPfE

I love this...

earlnash, Tuesday, 5 October 2021 10:47 (three weeks ago) link

Awesome

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 5 October 2021 11:51 (three weeks ago) link

Something about this type of music just fits my life very well rn both for singing and playing. It's soothing and not loud, I can listen to it around the kids with only mild groans at worst, and as far as jamming all I need to bring is an acoustic guitar - no amps or pedals, no spending 20 mins "dialing in tone," no earache after a session, common repertoire of tunes for easy jams with strangers etc.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 5 October 2021 11:53 (three weeks ago) link

Molly Tuttle is another one I've been listening to a lot lately. Here's here with a banjo player I don't know but who seems awesome

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duJa9vMZV2M

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 5 October 2021 12:00 (three weeks ago) link

who wrote the Billy Strings thing for the NYT? i don't have a subscription.

Grayson Haver Currin

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 5 October 2021 13:30 (three weeks ago) link

thx

alpine static, Tuesday, 5 October 2021 20:32 (three weeks ago) link

that’s quite a name

tobo73, Tuesday, 5 October 2021 20:52 (three weeks ago) link

Spy magazine alumnus, sounds like.

He POLLS So Much About These Zings (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 5 October 2021 21:18 (three weeks ago) link

Pitchfork alumnus (or maybe sometimes current still?) and great writer.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 5 October 2021 21:29 (three weeks ago) link

yeah, a dude worth reading for sure

alpine static, Wednesday, 6 October 2021 00:46 (three weeks ago) link

both for his writing and, generally, the music he's writing about

alpine static, Wednesday, 6 October 2021 00:47 (three weeks ago) link

Tony Furtado plays banjo, slide, dobro, etc. He's pretty good

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpj-FZY_SeA

Extinct Namibian shrub genus: Var. (Ye Mad Puffin), Saturday, 9 October 2021 00:58 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, he's been around a while; thanks for the reminder.

from my Nashville Scene ballot, re Best Reissues of 2016:

This isn't great, but fun, and gets better as it goes along (they credit New Lost City Ramblers for what they've lifted, and the folks NLCR lifted it from as well)(spoken stuff is is speedy, brief, and all at the beginning of this live-in-the-Stanford-radio-station set: no interviews, station IDs etc) orig posted on the ILX Garcia side projects thread,Jerry Garcia Solo/JGB/Grisman/etc. - S/D
Hart Valley Drifters,
Folk Time: not trying to sound strictly mountain-y---maybe a little too relaxed at times--but the picking is sharp and vivid, also without trying too hard, as Garcia trades off guitar and banjo with Ken Frankel; David Nelson's rhythm guitar and Robert Hunter's bass keep chugging along, and things get more engaging when Frankel plays fiddle for just about all of the second half (not much dobro that I've noticed, but Norm Van Maastricht gets bonus points for his name). Bluesier on "Sugar Baby" and then, right at the end, Mississippi Sheiks' "Sitting On Top Of The World", cool and bouncing us to another, contiguous world, just down the mountain aways, where Garcia has no prob suggesting Mississippi John Hurt sitting in with the Sheiks. I'd put this track in a Garcia acoustic comp (he's already the star here, but never ever hogging the spotlight, not that there is one).

dow, Saturday, 9 October 2021 04:31 (two weeks ago) link

A couple years later, it got included in this!
Jerry Garcia, Before The Dead: (Already have a couple inclusions, boot & legit, but 4 remastered
CDs for $19.99, so no prob.)The whole thing starts on May 26, 1961, with a hootenanny
at Brigid Meier's sixteenth birthday party (she's so excited!)
Set is very nice, made distinctive by Garcia's instantly
recognizable singing, which, as on most of the rest of the box,
doesn't have that high lonesome Dead etc. pitch, but is clear
and contemplative and unaffected. Usually with future
New Rider David Nelson,
pretty often with Robert Hunter, and several guys I really
need to look up, he gets more and more into banjo
--a bit more than I am, at times---but still got the guitar
and those pipes.
One blemish:
a set of songs of the American People complaining about
marriage/wives, carefully selected for polished performances
with his own first wife (who sounds pretty good), about a
week after their wedding (he calls the exact time).
She and the audience chuckle when he mentions this,
but it reminds me of a bootlegger who claimed that Jerry
sold all their wedding gifts to buy a guitar, and I'm sure
he played it well. This already-disenchanted evening's a bummer, man, but at least it's brief.

dow, Saturday, 9 October 2021 04:38 (two weeks ago) link

He quickly masters (far as I can tell) lots of old-timey and bluegrass, wheeee!

dow, Saturday, 9 October 2021 04:56 (two weeks ago) link

Now I really wanna hear his pre-Dead picking with David Grisman, where's that?!

dow, Saturday, 9 October 2021 05:00 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, he's been around a while; thanks for the reminder.

This is interesting - of course it makes sense that my 90s folk fascinations are now in the "been around a while" category. I still think of them as new because they're new relative to Flatt, Scruggs, Bill Monroe etc.

Furtado, yes, but also Brit/Scot
peeps like Eliza Carthy, John McCusker, Nic Jones. Plus yr neo folkies like Richard Shindell, Kate Rusby, John Wesley Harding. Some or most of whom are put of the scope of this thread but still dear to me when I approach acoustic music.

Extinct Namibian shrub genus: Var. (Ye Mad Puffin), Sunday, 10 October 2021 20:08 (two weeks ago) link

* out of the scope

Extinct Namibian shrub genus: Var. (Ye Mad Puffin), Sunday, 10 October 2021 20:10 (two weeks ago) link

I've discovered and become fascinated by this solo clawhammer banjo record put out by, of all things, Vulf records.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Lor0-CB1ag

It's so outside the range of what Vulf typically releases (not generally a huge fan) that I was kind of baffled. If anything it has more of the vibe of a Fahey record -- what sounds like outdoor recording with the atmospheric noises left in (dog barking, cars), slightly off mic vocals, and a bit of experimentation surrounding an otherwise beautiful and semi-traditional sounding clawhammer performance.

Turns out there is a story behind why it's on Vulf
https://www.reddit.com/r/Vulfpeck/comments/hw4mhm/question_who_is_rob_stenson_why_did_vulf_records/

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Sunday, 10 October 2021 20:24 (two weeks ago) link


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