I had a wonderful experience opening for Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge at the Old Town School of Folk Music this past Sunday. I've been a fan of their music for years, and I delighted in getting to visit with them before the show, jam on "Forked Deer" in the lobby with Critter, and then soak in all their incredible music during their set. I was joined on my portion of the program by my Big Sadie bandmate Elise Bergman, who sang beautifully. One of the songs we performed was the ballad included below, which Elise learned from the singing of Daron Douglas. Click here for Phil Solomonson's enthusiastic review of the concert.
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Last night's Punch Brothers concert at Thalia Hall, which was preceded by Gabriel Kahane's masterful opening set, was the best performance I have ever attended. Never before have I heard a band of virtuosi play so selflessly and joyfully. Their banter and the sportive moments of their solos elicited laughter from an enthralled crowd whose loving unison sing-alongs were so adept that Chris Thile stepped away from the single mic for his adoring fans. That was one for the ages, and it was of course mixed by Dave Sinko. [For those who attended the Friday show, Saturday was even better, thanks in large part to a less pixilated audience]
Exciting news in the old-time fiddle world: Kentucky fiddler William Hamilton Stepp's legendary rendition of "Bonaparte's Retreat" was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry yesterday! The press release is here. Stepp's life is chronicled in remarkable detail by Stephen Wade in his seminal book, The Beautiful Music All Around Us. The book's publisher, University of Illinois Press, had this to say about Stepp''s inclusion in the Registry.
I had a fun visit to "Nocturnal Journal with Dave Hoekstra" last night in downtown Chicago. It was Halloween (I dressed up as a professional folk musician), and I had the good fortune of attending the first set of The Dave Rawlings Machine concert at The Vic before heading down to the Loop to Tribune Tower, where WGN Radio is housed. Click here to listen to all 17 minutes, commercial-free, of my chat with Dave. You'll hear me play fiddle & banjo, and talk about my life so far as an old-time musician, my new album with Greg Reish, and our upcoming album release concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music.
The coolest thing happened tonight ~ Matt Combs got me and Greg Reish backstage passes to the Grand Ole Opry, a treat in and of itself. Upon arriving, Matt introduced me to clawhammer banjoist Mike Snider, who was performing on the show with Matt and Brian Christianson on fiddles. Mike asked if I had my fiddle with me. After I got it and we tried a triple fiddle medley in the green room, he invited me to join them onstage. Greg filmed this clip of me playing once through Mississippi Sawyer. So much fun!!!