Saturday 17 September 2011


'Well, there's thirteen hundred and fifty two
Guitar pickers in Nashville
And they can pick more notes than the number of ants
On a Tennessee ant hill.
Yeah, there's thirteen hundred and fifty two
Guitar cases in Nashville
And any one that unpacks his guitar can play
Twice as better than I will...'

Over on The Dabbler, the excellent Mahlerman (whose wide-ranging posts on music are models of accessible expertise) recently wrote a piece on the richness and depth of modern 'Americana' and its deep roots in a long, living tradition of home music making. When making music feels like a natural and normal part of life, talent thrives, and the result is that, in many parts of America, you can barely throw a stone without hitting someone who can play twice as better than you will.
It occurs to me that this musical environment probably feeds into the flourishing in America of, shall we say, straight-shooting evangelicalism - that old time religion has all the best tunes, and there are plenty of formidably talented musicians to play them with vim and vigour. Here, for example, is a performance by an entirely obscure outfit from North Carolina which has since disbanded as one of its members has gone into full-time preaching. After watching this, what can you say but Hallelujah?


  1. Eeee-hah!

    Love it.
    The best time I ever spent outside was sitting within the intimate circle of 6 Bluegrass players (unplugged of course do we had to sit close) who played all afternoon, alternating solo riffs with the generosity of friends who put the music foremost, not themselves. It was magical and, yes, spiritual -- but without the gawd-awful righteousness of god-botherers.

  2. Didn't Chris Barber have a skiffle group, the banjo player branched out. Oh, dear.
    Billy Connely, who polarises (or polarizes) opinion, has found, and will find some more, musical treasures on his route 66 wheeze, fast forwarding his bits relieves the pain.

  3. "Pickin' & Trimmin'
    "At The Barbershop in Drexel, NC, the atmosphere is laid back, the conversation free, and the music a cut above the rest."