Sunday, April 27, 2008

Scenes from This Morning's Moonshine Show

This morning on the Moonshine Show, I was joined by clawhammer guitarist Alec Stone Sweet. He plays an extremely unique guitar style that builds off of clawhammer banjo playing. He uses only his thumb and index finger on his right hand and then does a ton of hard work with his left hand in terms of pull-offs and hammer-ons. He strings his guitar with a skinny first string in the sixth string spot and uses a lot of drone notes to get the haunted, modal sound of the Appalachian hills. It is very original material and well worth checking out.

For the second half of the show, the Columbia University undergraduate bluegrass ensemble, Lion in the Grass, played a full set of music from our main studio. These kids get credit -- academic credit, I mean -- for playing bluegrass. They did a nice set of bluegrass classics: "Back Up and Push," "Fox on the Run," a banjoless version of "Talk of the Town," a beautiful duet version of "Lay Down My Old Guitar," "Drifting Too Far from the Shore," "Big Spike Hammer" and "Wreck on the Highway," and then they wrapped up with a version of Frank Wakefield's "New Camptown Races." There were a lot of them!

Thanks to Dan Shapiro for coming by and taking some photographs!

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