With no member older than 16 years old, the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys might be the world's youngest bluegrass virtuosos. Below, watch the Mizzone brothers – fiddle player Robbie, guitarist Tommy and banjo player Jonny – perform a blazing three song set during a TED Talk from February 2013. Sleepy Man Banjo Boys hail from Lebanon Township, New Jersey – a part of the country Tommy jokingly calls “the bluegrass capital of the world.”
We’ve all experienced it. Bad soundmen. You know, the guy who just doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing and can’t quite get that ringing frequency out of the FOH (Font of House) as you’re microphone checking one-two-one-two.
Here’s a treat! It’s a new track from Big Little Lions called, “The Way Home,” from their upcoming EP, Paper Cage, slated for release May 6. Chock full of twangy goodness, “The Way Home,” surprises with a driving, clap-along beat and some pretty sweet whistling. Big Lions’ Helen Austin and Paul Otten impress with some fabulous songwriting and perfect vocal harmonies. Not to mention extremely able fingerpicking!
The special banjo exhibit at the Museum of Making Musicp called: The Banjo: A New Day for An Old Instrument has some truly gorgeous instruments. From historic to brand new, the collections has a lovely variety of these desirable instruments.
We’re thrilled to present you with the world premiere of Sevendust’s new album, Time Travelers & Bonfires. Well known for their signature hybrid metal sound, Sevendust have abandoned the high gain on Time Travelers & Bonfires, leaving lush acoustic guitars in its place. This all-acoustic release is collection of brand new songs, along with re-recorded versions of Sevendust classics including “Black,” “Gone,” “Denial,” “Karma,” “Trust,” and “Crucified.”
Acclaimed acoustic trio Nickel Creek have announced that they will be releasing their first album in nine years. The group—Chris Thile (mandolin), Sara Watkins (fiddle) and Sean Watkins (guitar)—have also confirmed a number of tour dates, including stops at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, New York City’s Beacon Theatre and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Clark won a GRAMMY this year for Best Traditional R&B performance for his song “Please Come Home.” And yes, I dug around and found a nice acoustic performance of that song. But it’s this performance of a nice, gritty, live acoustic blues played on a resonator guitar that really floats my boat.
A classic singer/songwriter in the vein of James Taylor or Joni Mitchell, Robby Hecht has just previewed an upcoming self-titled album that simply grabbed me right away. Slated for release on March 25, Robby Hecht is a melancholy combination of lovely acoustic accompaniments and masterful but accessible lyrics. Hecht’s collection of songs fits like your favorite shoes. Even on first listen these songs feel like they’ve been lurking in the back your brain just waiting for a chance to make themselves known. Sigh.
Universal Music Group's Verve Records is proud to announce the signing of acclaimed Australian duo The Falls, consisting of Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston. The one time couple that recently made the move to the states will release their debut EP Into The Fire on February 18th.
I grew up listening to James Taylor, and I admit I know pretty much every word of every song he’s ever performed. But when it comes to the guitar parts, that’s something I’ve still gotta work on. Luckily the legendary Mr. Taylor has taken steps to remedy that. He’s posted a series of free lessons on his site that not only run through some of his most beloved songs, they also incorporate new portable camera technology so that you can see his right hand technique from the inside.
2014 has so far been incredibly brain busy for me. I’ve been accepted into a year-long song a week project that has been keeping me up most nights. It’s called Real Women Real Songs II, and I’ll write more about it once I’m deeper into the year. I admit that I write very few new songs a year for my solo work. Somewhere along the lines of about three new songs that I care to play out.
The lovely and talented Sara Bareillies took the stage last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live to perform her single, " I Choose You" from her latest album, The Blessed Unrest. Her instrument of choice for the live performance was The Loar LO-16 small body acoustic. I don't know about you, but I've been seeing smaller body guitars popping up all over the place, and this one is sure worthy of a sit down. I'm told it has that front porch blues-box sound, which seems like a good place to start!
Austin City Limits/em> (ACL) presents Americana music originals, Sarah Jarosz and The Milk Carton Kids in a brand new episode premiering February 1. Both artists showcase their bona fides in an all acoustic hour with roots/folk singer-songwriter Jarosz making a return appearance on the ACL stage and newcomers The Milk Carton Kids in their ACL debut. The episode showcases the young folk acts who were both nominated for Best Folk Album at this year's Grammy Awards.
Violent Femmes, in many ways, were as punk as it comes. Their music was raw, passionate, and completely unique. They never fit into any sort of genre, other than the arbitrary, encompassing “post-punk” label the music industry used for bands that didn’t sound like anybody that had come before. But most impressive of all, they turned their backs on one of rock music’s most basic elements, volume. Violent Femmes were raw and unhinged in the classic punk spirit; and they did it acoustically.
Often, people ask me when, how and where I find inspiration. I generally tell them that I sit down on a couch every day with a blank word document on the screen in front of me and a guitar in my lap. If inspiration doesn't show up at 10:30 when my co-write starts, then I start going through my idea file or playing my guitar.