Great Big World

Great Big World

by Tony TrischkaTony Trischka


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Banjo maestro Tony Trischka's other commitments have kept him from recording for nearly six years: producing Steve Martin's Grammy-nominated Rare Bird Alert, serving as musical director for the PBS documentary Give Me the Banjo, etc. Great Big World features mostly new tunes and a few re-visioned covers. Trischka's core band includes Mike Barnett on fiddle, Mike Compton on mandolin, Michael Daves on guitar and vocals, and Skip Ward on bass, but there are numerous guest appearances. Opener "Say Goodbye" was written for the memory of Kate McGarrigle. Trischka nods to Earl Scruggs' roll style (his first great stylistic influence) and pushes it an evolutionary stop up the chain. The track also includes lead vocals and guitar by Chris Eldridge, and burning fiddle by Barnett. The reading of Woody Guthrie's "Do Re Mi" melds mountain folk and bluegrass with Trischka's expansive use of harmony. He doubles the time with Compton's mandolin, and underscores its lyric poignancy for the new century. Martin lends his clawhammer banjo to "Promontory Point" to excellent effect. Trischka reveals his modal, rhythmic innovations to the banjo style pioneered by Don Reno on the suite-like "Single String Medley," wherein a different string is showcased in each of its five parts. "Belated Wedding Hoedown" is in medley with a comprehensive rearrangement of Stephen Foster's "Angelina Baker," sung by Aoife O'Donovan. Jazz and blues diva Catherine Russell adds a hard-driving gospel vocal and backing chorus to "Joy," which also features drums from Trischka's son Sean, a bumping electric bassline from Oteil Burbridge, and a mean pedal steel from Larry Campbell. Johnny Bond's "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight" combines elements of Ernest Tubb's honky tonk version with the rocking bluegrass reading by the Osborne Brothers, and adds banjo and mandolin layers to make it new. The haunting "Lost" commences as a deep droning blues, then weaves in knotty crossover classical interplay between the banjoist, woodwinds, and a string quartet, then caps it with a gorgeous American Gothic vocal performance from Abigail Washburn. "Wild Bill Hickok" showcases Russ Barenberg and Andy Statman on guitar and mandolin, respectively (marking a reunion with two of Trischka's earliest collaborators); Ramblin' Jack Elliott's woolly vocals; and a spoken word narration by John Goodman! This is Trischka building on the folk-cum-country musical storytelling tradition à la Johnny Horton, though it dates back to the 18th century in North America. Trischka's effortless ability to blend banjo styles and musical genres helped to establish his considerable reputation, but his relentless drive toward discovery and his architectural re-imagination of American music's historical past make Great Big World a standout even in his noteworthy catalog.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/04/2014
Label: Rounder / Umgd
UPC: 0011661914322
catalogNumber: 619143
Rank: 156427

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tony Trischka   Primary Artist
Russ Barenberg   Guitar
Todd Phillips   Bass
Mike Compton   Mandolin,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Oteil Burbridge   Electric Bass
Larry Campbell   Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Ramblin' Jack Elliott   Vocals
John Goodman   Spoken Word
Catherine Russell   Vocals
Steve Kenyon   Clarinet
Skip Ward   Bass
Aoife O'Donovan   Vocals
Abigail Washburn   Vocals
Brittany Haas   Fiddle
Tashina Clarridge   Fiddle
Maeve Gilchrist   Harp,Vocals
Michael Daves   Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal)
Chris Eldridge   Guitar,Vocals
Tristan Clarridge   Cello
David Surrette   Guitar
Christine Kim   Cello
Michael Barnett   Fiddle
Rick Heckman   Flute
Phillip Payton   Violin
Sean Trischka   Mandolin,Drums
Jared Engle   Bass
Hiroko Tagouchi   Viola
Greg Pilska   Glockenspiel

Technical Credits

Steve Martin   Composer
Tony Trischka   Arranger,Composer,Lyricist,Producer
Stephen Foster   Composer
Woody Guthrie   Composer
Johnny Bond   Composer
John Cohen   Cover Photo
Béla Fleck   Liner Notes
Devon Guillery   Cover Design
Greg Pilska   String Arrangements

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