The Down Hill Strugglers
|The Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen at the Washington Square Park Folk Festival. (Photo by J. Lee|
Down Home Radio host Eli Smith plays in an old time string band:
The Down Hill Strugglers (formerly known as the Dust Busters) is an old time string band based out of Brooklyn, NY. They have released an album on Smithsonian Folkways Records and are extending the legacy of the New Lost City Ramblers by presenting the authentic sound of old time music to a new generation. The Down Hill Strugglers integrate a wide range of old-time songs, ballads and fiddle tunes into every performance. They are influenced and inspired by the direct fusion of Scots-Irish and African music that took place in Appalachia, the Western states and the Deep South from the earliest colonial times through the Second World War. The Down Hill Strugglers’ music is infused with the old-time feeling and freewheelin’ energy present in the true diversity of American Folk Music. By carrying this music forward with authenticity and creativity The Down Hill Strugglers make it thoroughly contemporary, meaningful and fun!
The Down Hill Strugglers are:
Walker Shepard – fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, voice
Jackson Lynch - fiddle, banjo, guitar, voice
Eli Smith – banjo, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, Jews harp, pump organ, voice
They are often joined by John Cohen – banjo, guitar, mandolin, voice, brain
Some Quotes About the Band:
“Many string bands have the tunes but not the chops. Some have chops and tunes, but can’t achieve lift-off, marching along politely like so many historical reenactors. But the Down Hill Strugglers hit the trifecta, pulling their bows deftly across the best numbers in the old-time songbook with more grit and style than just about any group fiddling away today.”
- Nathan Salsburg, Curator, Alan Lomax Archive.
“The Down Hill Strugglers bring back the true spirit of Old Time Music, where every singer invented his own performance. Besides being excellent musicians on fiddle, banjo and guitar, pump organ, harmonica, etc., they sing with the high voices that echo the sounds of young artists heard on the old 78s, evoking the spirit of the “Golden Era” of recording, and the mystery of their own identity.
They have built their repertoire from some of the best music of the past and they keep it alive and lively. They have found resonance with the intensity of rural music, while delighting in the nuances that preserve the individual uniqueness of the genre. This is music that will keep your mind dancing.
The Down Hill Strugglers are reaching for new musical highs, and they play the kind of music I want to hear.”
- John Cohen, New Lost City Ramblers.
“A really excellent stringband! They make this old music alive and present.”
- Bob Fass, WBAI 99.5fm New York.
“Here’s three of my favorite people to play and sing with ever, kicking musical ass all over the landscape. If you like your trad/roots benter and hotter than normal, you’ll love this!”
- Peter Stampfel, Holy Modal Rounders and Fugs.