Why not visit and patronize the Finley Quality Network's proud sponsors?
Our sponsors:
Einbinder Flypaper, Bob & Ray's Overstocked Warehouse, Monongahela Metal Foundry,
Mary McGoon's Kitchen, and Bob and Ray's House of Toast Einbinder Flypaper Bob and Ray's Overstocked Warehouse Monongahela Metal Foundry Mary McGoon's Kitchen Bob and Ray's House of Toast

Back Back to departments Back to home

New Acoustic Music: An Introduction, by Mike Harney
Two signed posters from 1995    Left: Guitarist Leo Kottke    Right: The Flecktones with guests Sam Bush and Billy "Hollywood" Lee

An aside: The "Thanx for Servo!" on the Flecktones poster (in the green below the banjo) is a note Béla added later after he, Sam Bush, and I chatted briefly about Mystery Science Theater 3000, a favorite show for all of us, after the concert. As I knew Béla liked the show, I had given him a Tom Servo pin a year or so earlier. Since I hadn't seen Sam in about six years (at the final Boston appearance of New Grass Revival, of which Béla was also a member), I was talking with him for quite a while. When just about everyone else had left the theater, Béla, sitting on the edge of the stage, scooted over and said, "Sam, guess who this is." Sam: "Who?" Bela: "Mike's the guy who gave me that Tom Servo pin." Sam: "Oh, yeah? I love that show!" I happened to have a Crow T. Robot pin with me, so Sam got that one.

To further document how the snake sometimes eats its own tail -- or, better yet, and in keeping with the name of this web site, how quality seeks quality -- I found out a couple of years ago that Kevin Murphy, writer, puppeteer, and voice of Tom Servo on MST3K, likes the Flecktones quite a bit ("Ah, the Flecktones. I love those guys," he said, pointing at my t-shirt). Then, during the MST3K ConventioCon in Minneapolis in September '96, I talked with Kevin for a while at Brit's Pub on Nicollett Mall (accompanied by tasty Newcastle Brown Ale and cigars suggested by him), and found out that not only does he like a lot of New Acoustic Music, but he's also a mandolinist whose hero is Sam Bush. Criminey. Could've knocked me over with a feather. When I told him how much Sam likes MST3K, Kevin said, "So I could write him a fan letter and not feel like an idiot?" "Yup."

Originally written for The All-Music Guide

INTRODUCTION

What follows is a short primer on New Acoustic music. I don't claim by any means to be an expert in music -- I'm not a musician nor have I any musical education, but I hope I have a feeling for good music. This was originally written in 1993. I've done some updating recently, but only a few albums from the last two years are in the suggesting listening section.

New Acoustic music is a type founded in the late-1970s and expanded in the early and mid-1980s. Bands and individuals in the genre usually perform exclusively on acoustic instruments, but not always, especially considering the impracticality of lugging an acoustic bass from venue to venue. You will see in the following paragraphs that there are few hard and fast rules for this type of music. The music is also almost exclusively instrumental. Amplification is usually performed only by microphone, but again not always.

The term "New Acoustic" has never really caught on in describing this music, so it's a foreign term to most people. Recently, folks have begun to apply the term "Americana" to music I've always considered to be at least partially in the New Acoustic category. Chris Smither, a great blues guitarist I've been listening to since his 1983 resurgence on Adelphi Records ("It Ain't Easy"), is one whose music I've heard classified as "Americana" more than once recently. He seems to welcome the label since it may help people to understand the rooted nature of his music.

apples and oranges HOW TO JOLLY WELL CATEGORIZE IT

This class of music is quite difficult to categorize, but one can safely say that true New Acoustic music is not New Age music. New Age music, which appeared just after New Acoustic music, might be said by waggish types such as myself to be the sleepy, somewhat slow-witted cousin of New Acoustic music. While New Age music tends to be relaxing, of a slow tempo, and well-composed, much New Acoustic music tends to be hard-picking, faster tempo, extremely well-composed, and technically more exciting.

One of the reasons New Acoustic music is so hard to pigeonhole is the many and varied influences the music embraces. The biggest single influence is jazz. The other major basis is traditional musics of all types: British Isles, early American folk, and acoustic country, including bluegrass. Many artists especially favor Irish and Scottish music and write original instrumentals which should earn them an O' or Mac for their surnames. Other less-frequent but still quite visible (well, audible) influences include reggae, Latin, rock, big band, blues, Western swing, Eastern European, calypso, Middle Eastern, and classical music. Beatles tunes (sans lyrics) are special favorites of many New Acoustic musicians.

One of the better examples of wide influences is a tune called "The Lochs of Dread," which originally appeared on the Strength in Numbers album noted below and was later recorded live for Béla Fleck's "Live Art" CD set. It combines -- you guessed it -- traditional Scottish music and Reggae music in one tune. And does it well, too.

As you can see, hitting a rock with a stick and whistling with a blade of grass between the thumbs are about the only kinds of music that don't influence New Acoustic. If a generalization must be made, New Acoustic might be said to be a combination of the best of all types of music performed in a technically wizardly fashion using acoustic instruments, with a distinctly jazz flavor.

Thingie Bob McCoy, proprietor of the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, quite a fun place to visit if you're in Minneapolis

INSTRUMENTS AND METHODS


The instruments used in New Acoustic music are, not coincidentally, usually bluegrass instruments, along with some others. New Acoustic music was mostly started, and certainly heavily influenced by many bluegrass musicians, most of them progressive bluegrass artists. A partial list of pioneers in the field includes such giants as David "Dawg" Grisman (who is in the "Thanks to" list of many New Acoustic musicians' albums), several former members of his bands (including Tony Rice, Darol Anger, and Mike Marshall), Tony Trischka, Norman Blake, John Reischman, Bela Fleck, Todd Phillips, Jerry Douglas, and Sam Bush. (Several of these folks, by the way, comprise a group of wizards sometimes referred to as the "Nashville Mafia." A picture of several of them is at the bottom of this page.) This is a partial list only; many more were no less responsible for the initial birth and slow but sure -- and continuing -- growth of New Acoustic music.

An in-depth interview with David Grisman from Dirty Linen
Dawgnet, online home of Grisman and his independent record label, Acoustic Disc
Go get yourself DGQ-20, Grisman's 20-year retrospective. You won't regret it.

Some of the instruments used in New Acoustic music may not be familiar to all, and bear further explanation.

The mandolin is an eight-stringed instrument with the strings arranged in pairs. It is a pleasant-sounding, higher register instrument played with a pick that can sound more haunting and resonant when certain alternate tunings are used (such as those used by John Reischman -- see Todd Phillips and Good Ol' Persons below). The instrument itself, about two feet long, could almost be called tiny for the number of strings and the powerful percussive effect it can also be used to produce. Since all eight strings span perhaps and inch and a half, those artists that can, during a fast break, accurately pick out single strings from the pairs (at the rate of, say, three to six notes per second) are few and far between, but sheer ecstasy to find. Strangely, in the Bluegrass and New Acoustic fields, it is sometimes the larger artists, shall we say, that play the small mandolin, and the smaller folks play the big stand-up bass. Go figure.

The mandola and mandocello are larger, throatier relatives of the mandolin. The mandocello is about the size of a guitar and has a much deeper and resonant sound. Those who like mandolin a lot will absolutely love mandocello the first time they hear it. Heard live, it's sort of like a punch in the gut with a soft pillow.

The cittern is another almost guitar-sized, higher register instrument in the mandolin class, somewhat lower and deeper than the mandolin, but not so much as the mandocello. It's primarily used for British Isles-influenced New Acoustic music such as that performed by Midwest native Gerald Trimble.

Some beautiful mandolin family instruments on the Mandozine web site:
Mandolin Mandola Mandocello

The dobro, or steel guitar (not pedal steel), initially known as the resophonic guitar, was the first amplified instrument. The amplification is performed mechanically inside the instrument through a series of metal baffles and chambers. At first, it appears to be a guitar, but it has a large metal disc and weird venting on the front that may be more reminiscent of a kitchen grater. Though it can be made to sound very "twangy," many artists such as Jerry Douglas, Mike Auldridge, and Sally Van Meter (of the Good Ol' Persons) also use it to good effect for non-country New Acoustic music. Six- and eight-string versions of the dobro are used. The strings are extremely high off the fretboard (which is used purely for visual reference in the case of the dobro) and the dobro is usually played on the lap with a metal slide and finger picks. The dobro's name comes from the Dopyera Brothers, who invented resophonic guitars and trademarked their contracted name.

Ceci n'est pas une dobro
Ceci est une parodie de Magritte

Visit the Gibson Company's Dobro page

Other instruments used will be familiar: six- and twelve-string guitar, bass, banjo, and violin. (All right, "fiddle." There, I said it.) Electric versions of all these are sometimes, but not often, used in New "Acoustic" music. See what I mean about the lack of hard and fast rules?

Many times on these albums, mandolins and violins on particular tunes will be referred to as "octave mandolin" or "octave violin." This means that all the strings on the instrument are tuned one octave below standard tuning.

Instruments are sometimes used in unusual ways in this class of music. There are performers who will sometimes use a pick to play the violin. Percussion is also emulated on the violin by "chopping" with the bow and on the mandolin by chopping with the pick. Drummers are not excluded from the field, however. Others use digital samplers to expand the range of the banjo or use a bow to play the stand-up bass with haunting effect.

ear RECOMMENDED LISTENING

What follows is a list of what I feel is a core group of albums that are truly representative of New Acoustic music. A few are actually bluegrass predecessors to New Acoustic, but are included because of their important influence. Some wouldn't normally be included in a list of New Acoustic music, but are too close to the genre to leave out. Also be aware that many of these albums include the "roots" type of music plus New Acoustic music, so for goodness sake listen to the whole album and don't give up after two or three tunes. A good example is Sam Bush's "Late As Usual," which includes early traditional country tunes and others such as "A Rose in a Spanish Garden," "Sailing Shoes," a calliope piece based on mandolin orchestra music of the 1920s, as well as several New Acoustic tunes Sam wrote.

This list is entirely subjective (therefore completely guarantee-free) and a bit short. I'd like to list hundreds, but that wouldn't help people trying to get a good feel for the genre without busting the bank. I own most New Acoustic albums produced to date, but no doubt there are others I've never heard of and would have included. If you don't see particular artists on the list, please let me know about them. My heavy favorites are marked with an asterisk on the album title.

One last bit of trivia: Many of the artists, especially those who evolved from David Grisman's groups seem to have nicknames which find themselves incorporated into song names on some of these albums. A few of these: David Grisman is "Dawg" as in Dawgology, Dawgma, or Dawg's Due; Mike Marshall is "Gator" as in Gator Strut or Rotagilla ("Alligator" backwards); Jerry Douglas is "Flux" as in Fluxedo or Fluxology. The "-ology" suffix is also popular for song titles, as it is in jazz.

Note: You're in luck if you have a sound card on that system of yours. You can listen to sound bites of many Rounder, Flying Fish, Philo, and Varrick recordings on the Rounder Records web site in either WAV or RealAudio format.

You can also get quite a lot of these recordings from The Minor Chord in Acton, Massachusetts. Bill Brown, magnanimous proprietor (and fiddler to boot), will be glad to help you out. You can visit them on the web or in person at:

The Minor Chord
77 Great Road (Route 2A, about 1 mile west of the Route 2 rotary in Concord)
Acton, MA 01720
978-264-0299
Monday through Friday 9-7, Saturday 9-5, Sunday 12-5

VARIOUS ARTISTS
The New Acoustic Music Sampler, Rounder AN-02 (now also on Rykodisc as "New Acoustic Music")

This was my introduction to New Acoustic music. Several tunes on this sampler got me hooked for good. Single tunes from Fleck, Barenberg, Rice, Reischman, Wasserman, Trischka, Anger & Marshall, and Jerry Douglas, amongst others. It is available as a "price is right" CD.

DAROL ANGER & MIKE MARSHALL
*The Duo, Rounder 0176

Mandolin, violin, mandocello, etc. Heavy jazz influence, and a fantastic album. I saw Anger and Marshall when this album came out shortly after they left the David Grisman Quartet. It was at a now-defunct club in Harvard Square called Jonathan Swift's, and they opened for Michael Hedges and then joined him after his set for a total of about five hours of what is still one of the top three concerts I've ever heard.

The other two? Usually, the last time I saw Leo Kottke is on that list, and the other is a four-hour Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka appearance a couple of years ago at a club that seats about fifty people. Being a cheeky devil, I sat at the "reserved for CBS" table up front (CBS Sunday Morning was filming a profile of the pair which finally aired about a year ago), so I was able to make requests without raising my voice. Should've seen the synchronized "slowly I turned" look I got from them when I facetiously said "Slipstream" (a fast and difficult ensemble piece from Fleck's Drive album) towards the end of the night, when they were trying to figure out what they hadn't played yet.

RUSS BARENBERG
Cowboy Calypso, Rounder 0111
Behind the Melodies, Rounder 0176
Moving Pictures, Rounder 0244

Guitar with western swing and calypso influence. Barenberg is a ubiquitous Nashville sideman these days, but let's hope we get another record at the level of "Cowboy Calypso" from him soon.

NORMAN BLAKE AND THE RISING FAWN STRING ENSEMBLE
Full Moon on the Farm, Rounder 0144
*Original Underground Music from the Mysterious South, Rounder 0166
Lighthouse on the Shore, Rounder 0211
(About twenty more albums)

Southern flavor guitar, mandolin, and violin. Blake is a master of traditional early acoustic country and one of the finest guitarists ever. "The Old Brown Case" is a tune he wrote which has been mastered by only a few guitarists in the country.

SPIRIT OF THE WEST
Tripping Up the Stairs, Philo 1113
Labour Day, Flying Fish 70475

A mixture of rock and traditional British Isles music (in the same tunes, that is).


LEO KOTTKE
*6- and 12-String Guitar
*Guitar Music
*Live, On the Spot Records (a label of Private Music)
(Many others)

Leo Kottke may well be the best acoustic guitarist in the world. Try his latest album, "Live," produced in 1995, for a small taste of the fun you'll have at a concert with him. Kottke sings about half the time and has a deep baritone voice which is said to sometimes cause a deep panic in children and animals. On this topic, he has variously said that his voice "sounds like geese farts on a muggy day" (and nobody will ever let him forget that one) and "I know that my singing drives some people right up the wall. It doesn't drive me up the wall, so suffer."

The Windham Hill/Private Music Leo Kottke page
A pretty good independent site on Kottke, Route 6-12

SUMMIT
The Tall Brown Grass, Turquoise TR-5053

Craig Vance plays Blake's "The Old Brown Case" on this album. Instrumental compositions are great, but unfortunately they did not record their fast version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on this album. I believe they've done at least one more album.

TUT TAYLOR
*Dobrolic Plectral Society, Takoma 7050
(About three other albums)

An earlier master of the dobro and little-known heavy influence on New Acoustic. Curtis Burch, Butch Robins, Sam Bush, and Norman Blake are on this album.

NORMAN BLAKE/TUT TAYLOR/SAM BUSH/BUTCH ROBBINS/VASSAR CLEMENTS/DAVID HOLLAND/JETHRO BURNS
HDS 701 (dist. by Flying Fish and Rounder)

A phenomenal set here, recorded in just one day in the studio. Released in 1975, this was a precursor of great things to come.

DAVID GRIER
Freewheeling, Rounder 0250
Lone Soldier, Rounder 0309

A newer master of acoustic guitar who is about as technically perfect as a human can get.

THE TONY RICE UNIT
*Acoustics, Rounder 0317
*Still Inside, Rounder 0150
(About six other albums)

Heavy jazz influence. With Sam Bush, Richard Greene, Todd Phillips, Mike Marshall, David Grisman, and John Reischman.


BELA FLECK
Crossing the Tracks,
Rounder 0121
*Natural Bridge, Rounder 0146 [most is included on Daybreak, a CD compilation, Rounder 11518]
Double Time, Rounder 0181 [acoustic duets]
*Deviation, Rounder 0196 [most is included on Places, Rounder 11522]
*Inroads, Rounder 0219 [most is included on Places]

See Rock City
"See Rock City," a tune on Drive, derives its name from ubiquitous
signs for this Chattanooga tourist attraction on Lookout Mountain

*Drive, Rounder 0255
*Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Warner 26124
Flight of the Cosmic Hippo, Warner 26562
UFO TOFU, Warner 45016
Three Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Warner
Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Warner
Tabula Rasa (with Bhatt Chen), Water Lily Acoustic (1997 Grammy nominee, Best World Music Album)
Live Art, Warner ("Sinister Minister" from this album is also a 1997 Grammy nominee)

Warning: Hero worship follows. Bela Fleck is a phenomenal banjoist, probably the best in the world. He does so much that nobody else has ever done on the banjo, and extremely well. The Flecktones albums are heavily jazz influenced. Earlier ones are more of the "jazzgrass" type. "Drive" is one of the best albums I've ever heard. The same is true of "Deviation," which I still listen to very regularly eleven years after its original release. Fleck was recently nominated for two 1997 Grammy awards (Best Pop Instrumental and Best World Music Album). Last year, he won his first Grammy, one for Best Country Instrumental for a tune called "Hightower" which he recorded with Asleep at the Wheel (edging out his own "Cheeseballs in Cowtown" in the same category).

Warner Brothers Flecktones page
The Flecktones' own web site (just a tad better than Warner's)

SAM BUSH
*Late As Usual, Rounder 0195
Glamour & Grits, Sugar Hill 3849

One of the finest mandolinists around. "Late As Usual" is the Showcase album described in the primer above.

JERRY DOUGLAS
Fluxology, Rounder 0093
Fluxedo, Rounder 0112
Under the Wire, MCA 5675 (two other MCA albums)
*Slide Rule, Sugar Hill 3797
Skip, Hop, and Wobble, Sugar Hill 3817 (with Edgar Meyer and Russ Barenberg)
Yonder, Sugar Hill 3847 (traditional tunes with Peter Rowan)

(More hero worship here.) The best dobro player around. See also Todd Phillips "Released" for some of the best Douglas dobro tunes.

PETER OSTROUSHKO
Sluz Duz Music: Original American Dance Tunes with an Old World Flavor, Rounder 0204
Down the Streets of My Old Neighborhood, Rounder 0227
Peter Ostroushko Presents the Mando Boys, Red House 10
Buddies of Swing, Red House 17

Mandolin, mandola, mandocello, violin, piano, some vocals. Much Eastern European influence with a humorous flair.

ALISON KRAUSS
*Too Late to Cry, Rounder
Two Highways [with Union Station], Rounder 0265
I've Got That Old Feeling, Rounder 0275
Every Time You Say Goodbye, Rounder 0285

Alison Krauss's voice is one of those which just makes you sigh, and she is one amazing fiddler, too.

THE TIM WARE GROUP
*The Tim Ware Group, Kaleidoscope F-13
Shelter from the Norm, Varrick 014

Primarily influenced by jazz with Middle Eastern and Latin flavor on some tunes.


TIM O'BRIEN
Odd Man In, Sugar Hill 3790
Oh Boy! O'Boy! [with the O'Boys: Schatz and Nygaard], Sugar Hill 3808

Tim O'Brien's voice and songwriting skills are real treasures that more people need to know about. "Odd Man In" has some terrific romantic tunes, along with a requisite (as on his earlier Hot Rize albums) romance/murder. Jerry Douglas, Nick Forster, and others provide rock-solid backing. O'Brien describes "Odd" as "weird-country, electro-acoustic, folk-beat, walking-the-line-between-several-genres acoustic music that rocks a bit, but you understand the words" (a description that covers a good portion of vocal-oriented New Acoustic Music, actually). Also check out all the Hot Rize albums you can get your hands on -- Tim was the lead. A few other albums by Hot Rize's alter ego band, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, are also available.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
The Telluride Sessions, MCA 6293

Bush, Fleck, Douglas, Meyer, O'Connor. Need I say more? Okay: Each wrote a tune with one of the other guys for a total of ten they all play. They are ten of the most polished pieces of music you'll ever hear. A friend of mine, upon listening to this album several times, said, "I feel like I've been waiting my whole life for this kind of music."

TODD PHILLIPS
*Released, Varrick 011

This is for me one of the definitive New Acoustic albums. It is certainly Phillips's album, but it's just as much a showcase for the talents of Jerry Douglas on dobro and the other musicians (Tony Rice, Darol Anger, and John Reischman). The title cut is one of my all-time favorites.

MIKE MARSHALL
Gator Strut, Rounder 0208

Mandolin jazz with some Scottish, classical, Monk, and Coltrane. Anger, Higbie, Wasserman, Rice, Phillips are guests.

GERALD TRIMBLE
First Flight, Green Linnett 1043
Heartland Messenger, Green Linnett 1054
*Crosscurrents, Green Linnett 1065

British Isles-oriented New Acoustic, some traditional, played on cittern. Very posh stuff. It's been almost ten years since his last album. Isn't it about time for another, Green Linnett?

ALISON BROWN
Simple Pleasures, Vanguard 79459
*Twilight Motel, Vanguard 79465 (More)

"Simple Pleasures" was Brown's first solo banjo effort since recording "Pre-Sequel" in 1981 as a teenager with the also-terrific fiddler Stuart Duncan (currently with The Nashville Bluegrass Band). "Twilight Motel" reflects a bit of a change in direction, away from the more traditional, and a lofty step up for her original tunes. Very impressive work.


TONY FURTADO
Swamped, Rounder 0277
*Within Reach, Rounder 0290

Like Alison Brown's "Simple Pleasures" and "Twilight Motel" (and in about the same time frame), Furtado shows an amazing leap in inventiveness in his most recent album. He's currently banjoist for a group called Sugarbeat.

MIKE AULDRIDGE
*Eight-String Swing, Sugar Hill 3725

Dobro music influenced by jazz and swing. Auldridge is a member of The Seldom Scene, about the most highly polished, somewhat upscale bluegrass and acoustic music group.

GRAZZ MATAZZ
*Grazz Matazz, Matrix 018184

A DC-based group that plays New Acoustic hot jazz, swing, ragtime, and big band music.

FRONT PORCH STRING BAND
Front Porch String Band, Rebel 1624
Lines and Traces, Rebel

A vocal-oriented group primarily influenced by country and bluegrass. This is one tight group. Claire Lynch's lead vocals are, like Maura O'Connell's and Alison Krauss's on their respective albums, simply to die for.

EVAN MARSHALL
Mandolin Unlimited, Rounder 0243
Mandolin Magic, Rounder

Mandolin with other NA artists.

LOU MARTIN
Recent Work, Rounder 0214

Mandolin with other NA artists.

EDGAR MEYER
Unfolding, MCA 5694
Dreams of Flight, MCA 5964

Meyer plays bass with other NA artists, sometimes producing spooky music with a distinct Flecktone-influencing style.

MAURA O'CONNELL
*Just in Time, Philo 1124
Helpless Heart, Warner 26016
blue is the colour of hope, Warner 45063
A Real Life Story, Warner 26342

I am sure of this: Ms. O'Connell's voice is from heaven. Check it out. She's backed by, amongst others, Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg, and Bela Fleck.

A story on Maura O'Connell from Dirty Linen

MICHAEL HEDGES
Breakfast in the Field, Windham Hill 1017
Aerial Boundaries, Windham Hill 1032

I know, I know. Windham Hill is the haven of New Age. But his first two albums were distinctly un-New Age and were actually out of place on WH Records.


DAVID GRISMAN
Acousticity, Zebra/Acoustic 6153
Dawg Grass/Dawg Jazz, Warner 23804-1
*Quintet '80, Warner 3469
*Hot Dawg, Horizon 731
*Mondo Mando, Warner 3618
*The David Grisman Quintet, Kaleidoscope F-5
*DGQ-20 (a twenty-year retrospective), Acoustic Disc 20
(Many others)

Mandolinist extraordinaire and one of the guiding lights of New Acoustic music. ("That's Dawg music, bub.") Mentor to many of the artists listed here. Quintessential New Acoustic.

NEW GRASS REVIVAL
*Live, Sugar Hill 3771
*On the Boulevard, Sugar Hill 3745
New Grass Revival, Capitol 46962
Hold to a Dream, EMI America 17216
(More)

Vocal-oriented music with instrumentals. Bela Fleck was their banjoist starting with the "On the Boulevard" album. The Live album is a must. Includes one of their best instrumental performances, an unbelievable 18:50 rendition of Sam Bush's "Sapporo." Check out the 20 or 30 banjo notes per second during Fleck's solo.

MARK O'CONNOR
Markology, Rounder 0090
False Dawn, Rounder 0165

Before O'Connor entered the loagy land of New Age (on his recordings -- live performances are still top-notch). Great guitar work...from someone known as a violinist. On False Dawn, he plays -- with overdubbing -- 26 different instruments.

ANDY STATMAN
Nashville Mornings, New York Nights, Rounder 0174

Mandolin with Fleck, Trischka, Douglas, Barenberg, etc. Some Middle Eastern influence.


TONY TRISCHKA
*A Robot Plane Flies Over Arkansas, Rounder 0171 [included on DUST ON THE NEEDLE, a CD compilation]
*Solo Banjo Works (with Béla Fleck), Rounder

Trischka is Bela Fleck's only equal. Their styles are different, but both are great. Trischka is one of three banjo teachers Fleck took lessons from.

TONY TRISCHKA AND SKYLINE
Late to Work, Flying Fish 261
*Stranded in the Moonlight, Flying Fish 304

Pop-influenced vocals and phenomenal instrumental work. The group is now disbanded.

THE GOOD OL' PERSONS
*I Can't Stand to Ramble, Kaleidoscope F-17
Part of a Story, Kaleidoscope F-26
Anywhere the Wind Blows, Kaleidoscope F-38
(More)

Many vocals included. Traditional country and bluegrass influenced. Large proportion of original songs. Reischman's mandolin work alone is worth the purchase, but the whole package is great. In 1995, the group released a collection of live recordings.

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Great Acoustics, Philo 1101

Live recording from the 1984 Boston Acoustic Music Festival, showcasing several NA musicians and other folk artists.

THE CACHE VALLEY DRIFTERS
*Tools of the Trade, Flying Fish 290

Swing, big band, and pop influenced. I believe this album contains the best version ever recorded of Ray Noble's big band classic, "Cherokee." The Drifters perform it live at McCabe's Guitar Shop on two guitars, mandolin, and bass here. They disbanded in the mid-eighties, but recently got back together and released the exellent "White Room" in 1996. Their latest release is called "mightyfine.net" and you get just one guess as to the band's web site address...hey, yer a genius: www.mightyfine.net

DAKOTA DAVE HULL
*Hull's Victory, Flying Fish 294

Heavily influenced by traditional country and bluegrass, wonderfully animated guitar work. Doc Watson guests ("Let's hear that mandolin, son!").

PRESTON REED
Playing By Ear/Pointing Up (double album CD), Flying Fish

From the Leo Kottke school of 12-string guitar, Reed's style is quite distinctive and most people can't believe these two albums have no overdubbing. He sometimes sounds like two or three guitarists playing at once. Lately he's taken to a lot more Hedges-style tapping of the strings and a lot less fingerpicking. I prefer his earlier style, to be honest.


Some of the Nashville Mafia, from Fleck's "Drive" album

This page brought to you by:
Einbinder Flypaper®  Einbinder...the brand you've gradually grown to trust over the course of three generations.

Back Back to departments Back to home

Entire contents © 1995-2003 by Mike Harney. World rights reserved. Steve Allen, this means you.