On the tail of their critically acclaimed 2015 album, Lost at Last, Jon Stickley Trio independently releases a brand new 5-song EP, Triangular, on December 2,2016. With roots in gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and hip-hop in an “exhilarating all-acoustic swirl” (Acoustic Guitar Magazine), Jon Stickley Trio combines Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage on drums.
“In a time when a lot of instrumental music feels more like math than art, Jon Stickley Trio's Triangular reminds us of the pure joy that can be created and shared through music,” says Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck.
Jon Stickley Trio is on tour this winter with shows in the southeast this December in Knoxville, Kingsport and Charlotte. Jon also has a couple of shows booked with Andy Thorn (Leftover Salmon) and Travis Book (The Infamous Stringdusters) in North Carolina mid-month. On December 30th, the Trio pops up north to Richmond, Virginia to open for The Infamous Stringdusters before heading home to Asheville for a special New Year's Eve Celebration with The Honeycutters on Dec 31st. In early January, Jon Stickley travels to Denver to play two nights as a part of the Bluegrass Generals featuring members of The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, and more. The Trio joins up again in Wray, Colorado on the 21st with some surprise mystery dates out west TBA. There’s a scattering of other dates announced including WinterWonderGrass in California in the spring and FloydFest in the summer in Virginia. More to come!
The EP, Triangular, was recorded at Blue Sprocket Sound in Harrisonburg, VA this summer and was sent early to anyone that donated $10 or more to their recent successful Kickstarter Campaign to help them head back into Echo Mountain Recording Studio this winter with Producer Dave King (Of The Bad Plus) to record a yet un-named new full length album due out in 2017. The band surpassed their goal and reached $29,120 and is currently in studio recording.
"I like to think of music as a two-way street, a reciprocal experience between musician and audience,” says Lyndsay Pruett. “The Kickstarter campaign really affirms my view on that. And it truly becomes about more than the money. Money is the thing we all know we need to make the world go around, but this process allows people to have an extra level of personal involvement. We have conversations with people we've met at shows from all over the country, and they become involved in the next record. Then when we go back to those places to play the music for them the experience is more substantial, and more fun, of course."
Triangular features five songs leading out with with “Blackburn Brothers”, of which Beck says, “While the opening notes remind the listener of Tony Rice's Manzanita (one of the greatest acoustic guitar albums of all time), one is suddenly catapulted into Jackson 5 territory a few minutes later in the same song. Sure, comparisons to previous musicians are a good way to explain a new artist to the masses, but to do so is to cheat Stickley of what he really is: a damn genius, a musical mastermind, and one of the most unique, creative, and inventive guitar players I've ever heard.”
“Plain Sight” was penned by Jon after the mass shooting at a concert in Paris. ”It's as much an angry response to the perpetrators as it is a mournful tribute to the victims,” says Stickley. The music features Lyndsay's delicate pizzicato violin plucking, Patrick's breakbeat drum vibes, and Stickley's signature high speed shredding. The third phase of the tune breaks down to a gentle trading of melodic lines by Jon and Lyndsay.
“Palm Tree” is a tropically themed dance tune has become a staple of the band's live shows. It changes time signatures between 5/4 and 6/8, but remains danceable and accessible. The purpose of “Palm Tree” is to jam out and have fun, and that's what the Trio does on this track. You can hear Jon and Lyndsay pushing each other while Patrick "cooks" underneath, heating up the skillet till its HOT.
“Echolocation”’ is a tribute to whales and the beautiful songs they sing underwater. The most evocative of the songs on the record, it features the cello-like longbows of Lyndsay's violin that mimic the whales' songs. Patrick's epic drum solo over Lyndsay and Jon's unison arpeggios is a climactic moment that is one of the band's most dazzling recorded moments to date.
“Manzanita” is a classic composition by Jon's hero, guitarist Tony Rice, is arguably one of the most important pieces of music in Newgrass history. The Trio recorded this song as a tribute to those who came before and took musical risks that changes the history of music.
“Since bluegrass players started delving into jazz, they've been composing progressive acoustic music, but so much of it has lacked the comfort in its own skin that Stickley's songs possess.” Anders Beck says of Stickley’s style,“I could go on and on about how amazing it is that his twisty and turny songs don't feel forced, and always bob and weave at the right time; or how Stickley's guitar playing shares as much in common with the flow of the greatest rappers of all time as it does with his flatpicking heroes... I think you get my point. Stop reading this and go listen to his new EP.”
With the success of Lost At Last making it into rotation on radio stations both nationally and internationally, the Trio has traveled over 50,000 miles, performing at over 100 festivals and venues across the country in 2016 (Including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC), attracted attention of thousands of new fans, and teamed up with a national booking agency. Jon Stickley Trio heads into the studio in early December 2016 to record the yet unnamed full length album with Dave King, who also produced Lost At Last which garnered praise from The New York Times, NPR's Heavy Rotation, NPR's World Cafe, Premier Guitar Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and many others.
Jon Stickley Trio has evolved into a fully formed, musical identity that was just beginning to take shape on the first record. Stickley realizes, “Our musicality has matured individually, and collectively to the extent that we can read each other, and respond to each other in a completely intuitive and natural way. We can’t wait to take our matured sound back into Echo Mountain with our mentor and producer, Dave King.”
All of this interlocks, and is propelling the band into the future. Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst says “A new generation of bluegrass-reared instrumental explorers is coming into its own, and the Stickley Trio is in the vanguard.” While the group does their thing in the studio, they are happy to share Triangular with the world now!
Triangular Track Listing:
1. Blackburn Brothers 4:16
2. Plain Sight 4:26
3. Palm Tree 4:49
4. Echolocation 4:50
5. Manzanita 3:31
Jon Stickley On Tour
12/7 Wed - Knoxville, TN - WDVX Tennessee Shines @ Boyd’s Jig & Reel
12/8 Thu - Kingsport, TN - Sleepy Owl Brewery
12/10 Sat - Charlotte, NC - The Rabbit Hole *co-Bill with Billy Strings
12/15-16 Thu-Fri - Asheville, NC - Isis Music Hall *Stickley / Thorn / Book support for Travelin’ McCourys
12/17 Sat - Morganton, NC - Winter Music Fest *Stickley / Thorn / Book
12/30 Fri - Richmond, VA - The National *support for The Infamous Stringdusters
12/31/16 Sat - Asheville, NC - Isis Music Hall *w/ The Honeycutters
1/6-7/17 Fri-Sat - Denver, CO - Cervantes *Jon Stickley as a part of the Bluegrass Generals feat. members of The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, etc.
1/20 Fri - Abilene, KS - Great Plains Theatre
1/21 Sat - Wray, CO - 4th and Main Grille
3/30 Thu - San Francisco, CA Neck of the Woods
3/31 Fri - Squaw Valley, CA - WinterWonderGrass
7/26-30 - Floyd, VA - FloydFest
* All dates are Jon Stickley Trio unless otherwise noted.