On a Wednesday night in early January Jayme Stone posted here that he'd be playing in Lincoln Center on Thursday, and if anyone in the NYC area would be willing to volunteer helping him to staff the merchandise table, well wouldn't that be grand? I wrote saying that if no one else volunteered I'd be happy to stop by. My thinking was that I'm middle-aged and have a Day Job, so maybe an Young n' Hungry banjo aficionado would be Stone's first choice. Don't know why he picked me, but he did. I was psyched.
Lincoln center has maybe a dozen venues, some large, some very large. Others are small, and some are smaller. I'm afraid this was one of the latter. I'd seen the Carolina Chocolate Drops in a beautiful LC venue, a small theater with a floor-to-(very high)ceiling glass wall behind the stage. The Molly and I say in the second row of tables, dead center. At the end of the show Rhiannon announced this would be "the last" CCD concert, as the lineup was changing. While Justin Robinson did leave the band it's my understanding the the CCD are still going strong with Adam Matta and Hubby Jenkins joining Rhiannon and Dom.
He instructed me to show up at 7:30 for an 8:30 show, and I was (uncharacteristically) right on time. I rang him up and he came down to show me the CDs and instruct me as to what makes them each individual (original songs, influenced by Western African music, based on dance tunes from around the world) and what makes them all the same ($15 per). Please have people sign the mailing list. Postcards are free.
Stone is a very nice guy, is Canadian (Toronto) and is unforgivably thin. I want to see what he looks like when he's my age! But for a guy as young has he is he has to Juno awards, an incredible breadth of playing styles, and a nice stage presence.
Back to the venue -- this was a free show in the Rubenstein Atrium, a large but narrow hall running between Broadway and Columbus at 63rd street. Many of the attendees came specifically to see Stone; when I got there an hour before the show the seats were nearly filled. Some of those who came later just wanted to see whatever free music was on tap, and some clearly just wanted to get out of the cold. Everyone had a good time.
The show was centered on the music of his latest album, Room of Wonders, which features tunes based on folk dances from around the world. He brought with him a cellist, a bass player, tenor sax/clarinet, and drums. I'm a big cello fan, and this guy was really good. Oh, and the banjo player: he was good too! The music ranged from dance tunes originating in Bulgaria, Italy, and points around the globe, a bit of Bach (it's the fashion, doncha know?!) a few bluegrass tunes and the President Garfield version of Blackberry Blossom. Yeah, don't ask. Finished up with a bee-u-ti-ful version of the Tennessee Waltz. I'm not a dancer but if my wife had been there we'd have at least swayed, stomped about or something.
Lot's of people signed his mailing list, lots bought albums. I didn't count the money, but information management professional that I am I did arrange the takings by denomination, heads up, left-to-right. It was a free show and I was a volunteer, but at $30 for the albums I bought (he threw in the third for free) $35 (plus tip) for parking the the $5 cuppa coffee it turned into one expensive, free, volunteer concert for me! But it was worth every penny, every second of my time, and I'd do it again in a heart beat. If you get a chance to see Stone, I suggest you grab it. His albums are listed here:
And this is his website:
It should go without saying that I have no financial interest in his career or his album sales. I just met him for the first time last night, and he's probably already forgotten about me!
Cheers, Robert1 comment
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Occupation: Information professional
Bart Reiter Professional, IR 5-string open back
Bacon Professional FF IR banjo mandolin, 1918
Doc Huff IR 4-string cello banjo
Bob Thornburg grain measure 5-string
Various mandolins and guitars
(In no particular order) Mike Seeger, Pete Seeger, Adam Hurt, Clarke Buehling, Cathy Fink, Abigail Washburn, Gillian Welch, Bruce Molsky, Dan Levenson, Bob Thornburg, Steve Baughman, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mike Marshall, Sarah Jarosz and all the others I'm forgetting right now.
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Live and work in metro New York. Played guitar as a youngster, what we called at the time "folk music," some agglomeration of traditional, old time, bluegrass, blues. "Folk rock" must fit in there someplace. Dropped it as my life got busy but picked up again in mid-life as the arthritis got to crippling my hands. "Use it or lose it," my rheumatologist told me. My old dread was too big so I started in with clawhammer banjo and when my fingers couldn't handle the downstroke I moved to the flatpick: mandolin, four-string banjo, tenor guitar. Marcy Marxer inspired me to get jnto the 4-string cello banjo, and that's the variety I've settled into. A few months ago I found a small body Martin guitar and now I have an even smaller one; getting back into the six-string is my current focus, but I haven't lost sight of the cello! My primary audience is canine-oriented, likely a good thing given my skill level! -- Robert Harris
'Bloom Banjo' 31 min
'A Promise of Spring' 2 hrs
'TB-250 Neck' 3 hrs