Archive for February 2010

Twelve Tunes for Two Banjos

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Eli here, you’re trusty Down Home Radio host.  When I’m not on DHR playing records and recording interviews, I’m keeping busy by making records of my own! Here’s an album my friend Peter and I did recently.  We asked ourselves, “can two banjo players play together?”  After some experimentation we were able to answer, “yes!”  Here’s a big ad for our new album:

12x2front by you.
“Twelve Tunes for Two Banjos” is a CD of old-time banjo duets played and sung by Peter K. Siegel & Eli Smith, using mostly 5-string but also 4 and 6-string banjos.

Track List:
(click tune to hear audio samples)

1. The Worried Blues
2. Jesse James
3. Soldier’s Joy
4. Goodbye Booze
5. John Henry
6. Otto Wood the Bandit
7. Marching Jaybird
8. Sweet Betsy from Pike
9. What a Friend We Have in Jesus
10. Poor Boy Long Way from Home
11. Ever See the Devil Uncle Joe?
12. New Prisoner’s Song

To Order:

Go to where you can order online.  Its also on iTunes.

About the Musicians:

12x2back by you.

These are Peter K. Siegel’s first recorded banjo performances since he played on Elektra’s Old Time Banjo Project in 1964. Says Siegel: “You play this thing long enough, it begins to sound pretty good.”

In the interim, he produced more than 60 albums of traditional and roots-based music. Peter’s productions include albums by Doc Watson, Hazel Dickens, Joseph Spence, Roy Buchanan, Paul Siebel, and Los Pleneros de la 21.

Siegel founded the Nonesuch Explorer Series, for which he produced 15 albums of traditional world music. Folk Roots (UK) called Siegel “one of the earliest shapers of interest in world music.” His Gorô Yamaguchi album, A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky, continues to make its way spaceward in NASA’s Voyager Time Capsule.

His recent three-CD boxed set Friends of Old Time Music was released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. The New York Times called the set “a boxed set of awesome and concentrated power” and The Boston Globe called it “a precious, wildly beautiful document.”

Twelve Tunes for Two Banjos by you.

Eli Smith is a banjo player, writer, researcher and promoter of folk music living in New York City. He regularly plays in a string band known as The Dust Busters, as part of the Roots ‘n’ Ruckus show at the Jalopy Theater and hosts the internet radio show Down Home Radio. He also presents Down Home Live, every second Saturday of the month at Banjo Jim’s on the Lower East Side as well as the Brooklyn Folk Festival, scheduled for May 21-23rd, 2010.

See below for our review in the Old Time Herald magazine: (more…)

Backroads and Banjos with Art Rosenbaum

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

On today’s show I’m happy to be bringing out a new addition to Down Home Radio.  Well known field recordist, painter and musician Art Rosenbaum hosts his own weekly 15 minute radio program, “Backroads & Banjos” on AM 1690, WMLB out of Atlanta, GA.  We will be periodically re-airing this wonderful program here on Down Home Radio.  Rosenbaum is perhaps best known for his recent Grammy Award winning collections of his own field recordings, “The Art of Field Recording” on the Dust to Digital label.

On this episode Art Rosenbaum and Phil Tanner remembers their friend, guitarist Smokey Joe Miller who passed on in November of 2009.  Miller played with 4 generations of Tanners – he played with Gid Tanner in the old original Skillet Lickers back in the 30’s, as well as with Gid’s son Gordon, then Phil and most lately Russ Tanner, the latest member of this Georgia musical family.  This 1/2 hour program brings together 2 episodes of “Backroads & Banjos” dedicated to Smokey Joe.

Art Rosenbaum (right) talks with guest Phil Tanner as he tapes a segment of his radio show at AM 1690 in Atlanta. Rosenbaum is a former University of Georgia professor.
Art Rosenbaum (right) talks with guest Phil Tanner as he tapes a segment of his radio show at AM 1690 in Atlanta, photo from an article about Rosenbaum on
Art Rosenbaum plays six string banjo in front of one of his paintings.

Treasures of the Archive of Folk Song at the Library of Congress

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Joe Hickerson at Jalopy by Down Home Radio etc.
Treasures of the Archive of Folk Song at the Library of Congress – a lecture by Joe Hickerson at the Jalopy Theater, Brooklyn, NY 1/16/10

Greetings from California.  I’m out on the West Coast playing some shows with my band The Dust Busters and our friends the The Dough Rollers.  But I’m still on the job, bringing out Down Home Radio shows!  Here’s a recording I made at the Jalopy Theater just before I left town.

Joe Hickerson was the librarian and head of the Archive of Folk Song at the Library of Congress from the 1960’s-90’s. This is a very cool “lecture-demonstration,” where Joe talks about the Archive of Folk Song/Culture, plays great examples from its collection and also plays and sings some of his favorite tunes from the Archive.

Got more stuff in the can waiting to come out, plus I’ve been making some great recordings as I’m traveling around, so look out for more great stuff here on Down Home Radio!

Joe Hickerson’s appearance at Jalopy was sponsored by:
Folk Music Society of New York - home page
Joe Hickerson records Mississippi John Hurt for the Library of Congress, 1960’s.

Robert Winslow Gordon, first head of the Archive, with wax cylinder recordings and recording equipment, about 1930. Library of Congress Photo.

And don’t forget to check out the Down Home Radio advert in the Old Time Herald – lots of great articles, reviews and more!