Almost a decade ago, in a blissful oddity odyssey, master jazz pianist Chick Corea began collaborating with the greatest living banjo player Béla Fleck. It wasn’t quite as peculiar in Fleck’s world, as the genre-abolishing maestro's band The Flecktones thrived on inexplicable instrumental possibilities. He had also previously toured with Americana pianist and bandleader Bruce Hornsby.
To return to a point in your life that you have already lived is metaphysical. Déjà vu, as most of us call it, feels mystical, even if it has a chemical explanation. Scientific evidence aside, to relive something that you have lived before is an experience that seems to connect us with something beyond ourselves. We can both be in the moment and be able to predict (or at least have the feeling that we are predicting) what is coming around the next corner. But to experience déjà vu and to be able to improve upon the actions that once were? Now that is something different altogether.
The hardest part of any festival is continuing to not only march out strong lineups year after year, but marching out a lineup that the fans feel is the strongest yet. DelFest continues to rise to the challenge, and once again, organizers feel like they are on track to give the fans exactly what they want.The most notable new name on this year’s line up is The String Cheese Incident. Billy Nershi has been at almost every DelFest in one configuration
A concert tour organized to encourage voter turnout has taken on a new dimension in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Organizers Magic Hat Brewing Co., CEG Presents and HeadCount announced today that all proceeds from the four city “Participation Tour” will be donated to the Red Cross and other storm relief efforts.The tour begins Friday in Baltimore, followed by stops in Philadelphia on Saturday and Washington, D.C, on Sunday. Then on “Election Eve,” Monday Nov.
As Tim O’Brien and Friends kicked off the final set of RockyGrass 2012, I planted my feet a couple of yards behind the elevated stage. The canopy of treetops overhead, awash in color from the stage lights, absorbed a light drizzle. To my right, the deity of all double bassists, Edgar Meyer, calmly warmed up next to the main stage staircase.
The RockyGrass bluegrass festival in Lyons may be sold-out, but KGNU radio has once again found a way to sneak everyone inside. Since 2008, the local community radio station has been broadcasting live backstage from the festival during their popular Saturday Old Grass Gnu Grass program. Last year they doubled the coverage and added a second day of broadcasting on Sunday morning.
I spent my entire weekend at DelFest thinking of a musician who wasn't even on the lineup: Doc Watson.. I had heard of his declining health just before I departed for the festival. I overheard many at DelFest expressing their own concern. It appears we all had a feeling, sadly. I wish we'd have been wrong.
I had a dream about Steve Martin, last night..
I knew I'd be writing this story, today.. That's likely why he was on my mind. Of course he was in a white suit, with an arrow headband on his head. [I'm a child of the seventies, after all..] But instead of playing for laughs, he was picking his banjo with fire, along with a bevy of world-class bluegrass musicians. This was an especially fun dream, considering I've never seen him perform in any capacity beyond the movie theater.
What can’t Bela Fleck do? Or maybe the question is what can’t Bela Fleck do with a banjo? Aside from his history with the Flecktones, bridging and bending the idea of genre and fusion music he produced his first film, “Throw Down Your Heart”, a journey into the true origins of the banjo in Africa. The film also drew awareness to culture and struggles abroad, something rarely achieved through a concert film.