Jayme Stone's Lomax Project
Jayme Stone - banjo, Margaret Glasby - guitar, voice, Brittany Haas - fiddle, Eli West- voice and guitar, Joe Phillips - bass
Rogers Hall, 4th and High Street, Lyons CO
8pm showtime, doors 7pm
An acetate disc-cutter and cactus needle stylus. The rutted roads of eastern Kentucky and the Georgia Sea Island coastline. Kitchen din and street noise. Songs everyone has come to know—and the storied singers nearly everyone has forgotten.
These snapshots guided banjo innovator and musical instigator Jayme Stone and his collaborators on a years’ long journey to research and recast nineteen carefully chosen songs collected by iconic American folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax. “I’m not a preservationist,” Stone emphasizes. “We’re here to renew this material.”
The material in question—sea shanties, cowboy ballads, ox-driving songs, Southern spirituals—helped shape the mid-century folk revival and more recent Americana. Stone, by virtue of his instrument, has long studied traditional music but it has remained underexplored in his award-winning albums. Stone traveled to Mali (and made field recordings of his own) to engage with the banjo’s long-lost cousins. He composed original pieces that edged far closer to contemporary classical sounds than traditional folk ones. Now it’s time for his homecoming.
Stone and company have delved into the vast, worldwide trove of Lomax recordings and found a deeply emotional access to these tunes and songs on Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project (Borealis Records; release: March 3, 2015). The release features Grammy-winning songsmith Tim O’Brien, Bruce Molsky, Margaret Glaspy, Moira Smiley, Brittany Haas, Julian Lage, and more. Just in time for the Lomax centenary this year, it includes a 54-page booklet with song notes by Stone, an introduction by Grammy-winning music scholar Stephen Wade, and a photo essay by longtime Nonesuch photographer Michael Wilson.
The songs hail from sea captains, cowhands, fishermen, homemakers, prisoners and farmers: “extraordinary, everyday folks making homemade, handmade music,” Stone notes. Homemade does not mean quaint or precious, however. This is intense music, drawing on sometimes harsh, sometimes bittersweet experience. From Appalachia to Trinidad, rural communities to juke joints, the musicians we have forgotten reverberate in Stone and company’s beautiful renditions.
“This project is what I like to call a collaboratory: a community of like-minded musicians brought together to seek understudied sounds, to dust off old songs and reimagine them,” Stone says. “My aim is to create a process that taps each of our musical trees, harnesses the unexpected chemistry of collaboration and makes music that’s informed by tradition but not bound to it.”
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