Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fine Malt Lickers

For some fine banjo playing, download and listen to the tracks found here, here, and here, by Arnie Naiman, Chris Coole, and a few others. If you're looking for the car chase music usually associated with the banjo, you'll be sadly disappointed. Most of the tracks feature a playing style known as clawhammer which predates the more popular bluegrass style. I'm not sure if I could explain well the technical difference between the different playing styles to someone who doesn't already know something about finger picking a string instrument. Google will help you find someone who can tell you about clawhammer better than I could.

While the technical differences between the two styles might not be easy to explain, the difference in effect is easy to hear. Bluegrass style is what most people associate with car chases, and can be quite brash. Clawhammer style, at least as it's practiced by these folks, is gentler.

The track "Cold Tea" is bluegrass. All others but "Rambling Boys" are clawhammer. Take a listen, and see the difference for yourself.

The track "Rambling Boys" is in the rarely heard Irish tenor style. Unfortunately, the track is corrupted. It plays, but it doesn't sound right. (I sent an email to the artists quite some time ago to tell them about this, but they never responded. If they read the email, they didn't act on it.)

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