*update* sept 24- We now have the ziggy's show available on archive.org
Brian here, I'm finally getting around to starting our BDL travel blog, Thrown Under The Love Bus. (I love that name!) This will be a place where we can offer stories, pictures, videos, and lessons learned from the road. And for this maiden voyage I have something very special, a sneak peek at a brand new song that I'm sure will be a highlight of the next album.
I wanted to say something to recognize the 9/11 anniversary but it didn't seem to fit in the travel blog so you can find it at the Lonesome Banjo Chronicles.
This weekend revolved around the release of our new album "Let It Grow." We worked very hard on this album and are very proud of it. We just barely got it back in time for our CD release shows. We actually had the CD release show booked at Ziggy's before we had our studio time booked to record the album...but that's just between us...don't tell anyone! We are already talking about the next album. (And we will schedule this one better)
Thursday, Sept 8th: We left early Thursday morning to play on the great radio station WNCW. If you've ever lived in Western NC, and love good music, then you know all about this station. If not, let me give you a sample playlist that you might hear on any given day: Doc Watson, Miles Davis, Acoustic Syndicate, Freddie King, New Mastersounds, Wood Brothers, Jimmy Reed, Possum Jenkins, and they have entire shows dedicated to bluegrass, old-time, Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa. In a world where typical radio stations only rotate about 25 songs that generally all sound the same, WNCW is a beacon of blazing bluesy bright light for music lovers. And now that we're all connected by the internet tubes you can stream WNCW all day long, as well as listen with your phone. (PSA: any politician that even thinks about de-funding NPR should be voted out of office immediately...and then flogged. NPR stations work to spread knowledge about the world and raise the wisdom and consciousness of the public, which is why it is a threat to so many politicians on a certain side of the aisle.)
WNCW plays really great music, and when we made the first album, "To The Mountain," we were aware that our ultimate litmus test was whether or not WNCW played it. We didn't talk about this much, but we all knew. We can have 100 people tell us the album is great and we can have 40 random magazines review it and say it's great, but we wouldn't rest easy until WNCW gave the "thumbs up." And they did (whew)--they liked it, a lot, and they put it on regular rotation. Our sense of relief was immense and we could start breathing again.
This was our second "Studio B" appearance and it went great. We were interviewed by Martin Anderson, the program director, which is always a very easy and laid back interview. Martin has a really fantastic sense of humor and makes everyone feel very comfortable. And thanks to our archivist Travis Viars we have a link to the session!
After the WNCW session we went back to the house of Steve "Little King" Metcalf for the afternoon. Of all the people that have helped us get where we are, Steve is at the top of the list. For me personally, his confidence in us gave me the confidence to go "all in." He's the executive producer for our last two albums which helps us tremendously, but his friendship is worth just as much. Steve is legendary in the southeast music scene and ran the infamous Green Acres Music Hall for years. Bela Fleck said that Green Acres was his favorite venue for many years. Here's a great Flecktones show with Sam Bush recorded there.
We then headed up to Pisgah Brewery and played with local band The Broadcast. The turnout was lighter than we hoped for, but Asheville is a tough market. Always 100 different things going on.
Friday, Sept 9: Ziggy's! Wow! What can I say? This night surpassed every high expectation we had placed on it. Me and the guys from Breakin' Jimmy's Martin had been learning Jim Lauderdale songs all week and had no idea what to expect. This could have been a huge trainwreck and we were all aware of it. But Jim got there and we went over the songs several times and I think it went pretty great. I could tell Jim was happy with it after the show. Playing bluegrass on-stage with Jim Lauderdale is a dream come true for all of us.
And the night just kept getting better. To put it in context, BDL's biggest night ever for Winston was around 200 people, and we had well over 500 people come to this show. We were blown away. Musically we were all on. Hell, it's hard not to be when you have such an amazing crowd giving us tons of energy. Another potential train-wreck of the night was the new instrumental "Mid-Summer's Dream" transitioning into "Dreamwalker." We wanted to re-create what we did in the studio into the live show, and we brought in the amazing percussionist Shawn Roberts from Appalachian State, as well as the great fiddler Merle Johnson to help us with it. We had never played this live before and we didn't even get to rehearse it during soundcheck. We had an idea of what we wanted but nobody knew how it was going to turn out. It was better than we expected and Joey even joked that if we had rehearsed it we wouldn't have pulled it off as good as we did. I guess I can say that this night was the top performing experience that any of us have ever had. You can listen to the whole show here.
|Photo by Jenny L. Viars, Dancing Lemur Photography|
Saturday, Sept 10: We were back at the Deep River Music Festival in Franklinville, NC. As a young band, we've played a lot of these small community festivals and we've learned that you meet the best people in the world at them. These are the people that will drive all over the state to support their favorite band, and they're also the people that will get up in the middle of the night to help a friend or neighbor in need. We are always thankful to be invited to them. We met a really great young band from Boone, NC (my old stomping grounds) called Troubel. Also on the bill were Holy Ghost Tent Revival and our good friend Ralph Roddenberry.
Here's one of my very favorite Ralph songs, "Pushin' on a Pull Door"
I hope everyone has enjoyed the first edition of our travel blog. We are looking forward to posting fun stuff each weekend.
Thanks for everyone's support. We will see you on the road!
Brian and BDL
Lonesome Banjo Chronicles