I wanted to gift him something, because I've been terrible about his birthday gifts the past couple years. Josey and I found him a fleece-lined flannel before leaving MT. Then on his special day, the mamas stopped in a bookstore on our way for Thanksgiving shopping. Of course, I was lured to the cd rack, and accumulated almost 5 possibilities that he might like when this caught my eye:
Bela Fleck was my personal intro to bluegrass, and I have always loved to move and get things done to the Flecktones. Alongside dancing elephants, James, Andrew & KK, and I saw Bela play with Bruce Hornsby (my absolute fav) at the Portland Zoo when Josey was maybe a teeny tiny seed. I didn't know that he was married to a musician, though! The first time he heard a recording of her music, he was pulled over for speeding! His wife, Abigail Washburn "is every bit as interested in the present as she is in the past, and every bit as attuned to the global as she is to the local." She also has great hair. Check out her bio & website.
This new album is the first ever recorded collaboration with his wife, banjoist & singer Abigail Washburn. When I held it in my fingers, I felt tears prickle in my eyes. That's a good feeling, holding an album in your hand that you know to be truly special, it almost holds your hand to the checkout.
A work of ART. I just read a great piece by Gillian Welch about how people make music to deal with tragedy in life, how before all the other meda & entertainment we have today, there was music. This album deals with some things, big ones- death and destruction among the first to come to mind. These songs are poignant in recent history, in the personal struggle of people today, but bringing the brutiful quality of life full-circle. I will be singing these tunes for many years to come.
Even though it was James' birthday gift, I can't stop listening, pouring over the album leaf. They've even included a special note about each song- placement in their lives and culture today. The centerfold is a detailed photo and note about the 7 banjos played by the couple. There is even a beautiful dedication & portrait of their baby boy, Juno. I hope they record more music together as their family grows!
Have you finished your Christmas shopping? I strongly recommend this one as a gift for the music-lover in your family! I try to purchase most of our music from Independent Record Stores, and I encourage you to do so, too!
However, if you do shop Amazon this Christmas, and you read this blog, please consider clicking on the link in the sidebar- my family earns a small affiliate from purchases referred.
P.S. Here's Bela and Abigail talking a little bit about their separate Banjo styles and then playing the opening track, a classic American tune with their own spin, Railroad: