Posted by budbennett on Monday, October 3, 2016
Four rambling thoughts on the new John Bullard album:
-Something I always kind of enjoy is the anticipation that gets built up when someone I like is releasing a new album. I have known that John Bullard is releasing his for a long time now (his third album of classical banjo work) and have heard a piece or two from it. When we interviewed John this spring, he talked about it, so I knew generally what the material was and I knew Jayme Stone had produced it so I knew it was going to be different from his other albums. Also, I knew it was going to be good. So on Friday, I wandered down to my mailbox and found a small package from Bullard Music and guess what was inside? John’s new album- Classical Banjo: The Perfect Southern Art.
-First impression on opening the packaging- I really think it looks great. Two lovely photos of John, and not a plastic jewel case and a very thoughtful layout. So far so good. Soundwise- the production quality is completely first rate. The musicianship is perfect. The song selections are really really great and interesting. Honestly, I don’t know much about classical music so I don’t have the right vocabulary to talk about it, I just know when I hear something whether or not I like it. I’m here tell you, I like it! I listened to the album three times in a row Friday afternoon and then thought about a few of the pieces for a long time afterwards. On this new recording, John has included works by Schumann, Telemann (I have always liked Telemann so I was happy to see some of that on here), Handel, Bach, Grieg, and Marcello. Since I was listening to it while working, I wasn’t paying attention to the song titles but each time I listened to the album, I really loved the Grieg pieces and I had never listened to his work before that. Also, the Marcello, who I had never heard any works from really was beautiful.
-I realize that the word beautiful is probably not a word a lot of people associate with banjo music. I do, but I am not the norm I know. The Concerto in D Minor is beautiful music on this recording. I dare you to listen to it and not agree with me.
- The Grieg pieces.... These are different from the rest of the material in some way. I REALLY like them. I know John told us Grieg borrowed from folk melodies in his works so maybe that has something to do with it but each time I listened to the album, the Grieg pieces made me stop and listen intently. GREAT stuff.
At minute 31:27 on this video, John talks about the album, about working with Jayme Stone and about the material on it. https://vimeo.com/174202219
I think this is a really great album. John is a wonderful musician, a really nice guy, and is doing a lot to help remind people that the banjo is a real instrument. GREAT job John Bullard!Now go buy your copy!
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