Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bluegrass Champs

Scotty Stoneman is one of my all-time fiddling heroes. The recording of him playing Live in L.A. with the Kentucky Colonels might be my favorite CD ever. Nine out of ten fiddle albums is basically boring, but I don't think Scotty ever played a boring note in his life. I read Ivan Tribe's biography of the Stoneman Family a few years ago, and learned that one of the reasons why they played as if their lives depended on it was because at times it basically did.
Anyway, here he is with the Bluegrass Champs, including his sister Donna, who steals the show, on mandolin and tenor vocals.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jerry Reed

If you draw a straight line from Roger Miller to the Nappy Roots, and another one from Ray Charles to Brad Paisley, where those lines cross you will find Jerry Reed. Devilishly handsome, freakishly talented and all too quickly forgotten. Until recently I (like most people) mainly remembered Jerry Reed for "East Bound and Down" and his role in "Smokey and the Bandit." I also knew that he was a great and idiosyncratic guitar player, a fingerpicker in the self-taught tradition of Chet Atkins.

I didn't know he wrote this little ear worm which has been rattling around my head basically since birth.

I didn't know he played lead guitar on Elvis records, or that he acted in "the Waterboy."

Here he is playing and singing the hell out of an old standard.

And here's another classic, performed in the 1970s, when less was less, and more was most definitely more.