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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

7179 reviews in the archive.

Todd Treadway: Cigar Box Banjo

Submitted by rudy on 5/25/2013

Where Purchased: CDbaby

Overall Comments

So how many renditions of June Apple can you stand? I like the standards in the old time repertoire as well as everyone else does, but I’m always excited to hear of a new artist with fresh material who deserves more recognition then they are receiving. Such is the nature of our own Todd Treadway who in 2012 released his “Cigar Box Banjo”, available through CDbaby:

This CD has only recently came to my attention and I have to say I’m quite taken by it, it is indeed unfortunate when a CD this good flies under the radar of reviewers, and it’s an outright shame for people who appreciate great tunes to remain unaware of them. Hopefully that will change before long!

You may initially think from the title that this is a lightweight or quirky novelty CD, but that’s not the case. Every once in a while I hear tunes that I think are compelling enough to join in the ranks of other modern composers such as Curt Bouterse’s “Waiting For Nancy” and “Nixon’s Farewell”, or Jim Childress’s “Road To Malverne”. Many of Todd’s compositions are at that level.

Todd is no one trick pony; his material is fresh, unique, and stands the test of repeated listening. It has sweet and catchy lilting tunes, dark and modal pieces, and covers pretty much everything in between. The compositions are mostly his original pieces with a small selection penned by other sources. Although it’s done mostly with simple cigar box banjos with guitar and sometimes bass accompaniment, the tunes are immediately transferrable to the clawhammer style, and most of them come across very well played in this form.

All of that, plus he plays all the instruments and did the recording and production work. Over-achiever? Todd frames the entire process as being congruent with the simplicity of the instruments, but he’s created a real jewel for his efforts. Do yourself a favor and get comfortable with this CD. The mark of an excellent recording for me is to listen and feel my life has been enriched from the experience. “Cigar Box Banjo” does it for me, and that’s good enough.

Bottom line; I’ll go so far as to say he’s only a Volkswagen commercial away from being a household name. That’s how good it is. Move over Nick Drake.

You can sample Todd's music at his homepage here, be sure to try on "Prairie Rain" for size!

Overall Rating: 9

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