OK, it's been a while since I made a blog entry. I've been busy recording an album using two Deering Eagle II banjos - a tenor (the first one ever made) and a 5-string which I also use as a 4-string Plectrum banjo. The big decision was to only make it available as a download album, rather than a physical disc. The costs were just too high, and the expected sales just too low for the maths to make sense. The good news is that as a download-only album, it only cost me $39 to make - the fee for CD Baby to host it on their site and send it out to iTunes, Amazon MP3, and about ten other digital outlets. So far sales have been slow but steady. It seems most folk would still prefer a physical disc. Well, so be it. I just can't afford to do otherwise.
The recording is called ''Recital: The Art Of The Banjo 1910 - 1930'' and brings together my exploration of the early Plectrum and Tenor banjo publications. Many of the composers wrote originally for the 5-string 'classic' banjo, and some of the pieces are their own arrangements of their own compositions. There is great variety, from Gershwinesque harmonies and rag and jazz rhythms, to quotations from Mendellssohn. Some of the pieces are very introverted, such as Cammeyer's 'A Fireside Idyll' which is one of my favourite pieces.
Some nice comments are coming in: ''Every banjo player should have a copy. It's THAT good!' Steve Caddick. ''Truly beautiful music in all ways. Truly wonderful how you bring out the voice of the banjo. Really Really inspiring! thanks so much for sharing this with me and with all music lovers.'' Jason Smith. And a few others. All encouragement gratefully received.
Mel Bay continue to say my banjo books will be out this year. I'll mention it when they are.
Next stop: a recording of the music of the Dobsons and Buckleys, using a fretless Boucher copy by James Hartel (a stunning banjo) and a fretted Ashborn copy (again by James) with the second fret split - the first string fret being closer to the nut, as on many banjos from this period, and also the Dobson/Fairbanks banjo by Luke Mercier. All in gut, of course.
I'm also returning again to clawhammer - a technique I've never felt comfortable with. But I'm making some progress, so we shall see...8 comments
'Balsam Hooks and Nuts' 13 min
'Pisgah Hawktail Tailpiece' 24 min
'12” Balch 4 Star Head' 27 min
'Menzies Goat Skins' 31 min
'Polka On a Banjo' 1 hr