Sunday, February 18, 2007

Crooked Still & Alexi Murdoch: Folk music that doesn't make you want to drown yourself

Crooked Still is part of a new breed of bluegrass bands. Unorthodox, alternative, what have you--they draw on a multitude of influences to produce a unique sound and and approach to some bluegrass classics. The band consists of a banjo (Greg Liszt), cello (Rushad Eggleston), double-bass (Corey DiMario) and guitar/vocals (Aoife O'Donovan.) Yeah, that is about as Irish a name as you can get. Although that seems like a rather strange set of instruments for a bluegrass quartet, they manage quite well. Rushad has a percussive, almost slapping style of play that plays well off of both the bass rhythms and the banjo rolls. Greg Liszt is an incredibly talented banjoist, probably in the top 10 in the world. Anyway, they stick to a set of more traditional bluegrass songs, unlike Nickel Creek, but they are incredibly innovative in their musical interpretation of them. Check out their myspace, and listen to "Mountain Jumper" as well as "Wind and Rain" (it has a fiddle part.)

To give you an idea of just how awesome they are live, here is a video of them playing "Orphan Girl" at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Be sure to keep an eye on Rushad.

I first heard of them when they played Woodsongs in 2006, along with Tony Trischka (another amazing banjoist). The podcast of that show is available here, and I highly recommend it. Liszt and Trischka have a crazy duet.

Alexi Murdoch is a folk singer/songwriter similar to Nick Drake. He's from Scotland, and you can hear it in his voice. In fact, I think that is what I like most about him. You can hear how he forms his words. He has an album out, Time Without Consequence, which has significant influences from blues and jazz, especially in the instruments surrounding the guitar. He just played Headliners in Louisville, which I missed, unfortunately. Here is a video of him playing my favorite song from his album, "All My Days" on Carson Daly.

Also, here is an mp3 of another song from his album, "Song For You." The whole album is this good, actually, so I recommend that you buy it.

[mp3] Alexi Murdoch - Song For You

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