CURRENT RELEASES
CD-022 reissue

Franklin, Harpe & Usilton
Hokum Blues
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remastered

A real treasure from 1993, originally released on cassette, now revived for your merrymaking pleasure! The unbridled Washington, D.C. area ensemble Franklin, Harpe & Usilton set the acoustic blues and ragtime ablaze with their fun and exciting Hokum Blues. The Hokum blues are sly, drenched in mischief and sexual innuendo, good-time music with a strong dose of tongue-in-cheek street wit. Listen carefully to the words. It’s music with a story, just a little but funny, sometimes a little sad and even a little scary, but always deep. The fiery trio of Franklin, Harpe and Usilton swings like mad on this reissue packed with Piedmont and ragtime classics – old time acoustic blues of the 1930s. The revivalists trio made the classic old blues cool again – rough-hewn, edgy and raucous, focused on the exuberance of the song. Don’t let the clever songs distract you from the superb instrumentation. Both Rick Franklin and Neil Harpe are excellent alternating bass fingerpicking guitarists with the prowess to honor the best players of the golden era, covered here with virtuosic perfection. All that while keeping it loose and joyful.

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CD-348

Mark Schatz & Bryan McDowell
Grit & Polish
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Mark Schatz-
Mark Schatz was born April 23, 1955 into a musical family. He began his formal musical training with cello at age ten and later switched over to string bass. His first performance was in 1971 on electric bass in a high school rock band. Inspired by a love for folk and traditional music, he took up the guitar, mandolin, and clawhammer banjo. He received his Degree in Music Theory and Composition from Haverford College, and studied for a year at Berklee College of Music.

Bryan McDowell is a person predictable only in his consistent excellence.
Fiddler, vocalist, and master of stringed instruments, his reputation is solidifying as a musician of great interest on the acoustic scene.     more....

   
CD-355

John Colianni Trio
Ahead of the Crowd
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  If you have John Colianni’s previous albums on Patuxent, you know from my liner notes that we go way back. In the notes to After Hours I relate how I first heard John perform in the final round of the first Thelonious Monk Piano Competition in 1987. What I didn’t mention was the earlier connection where my “day gig” intersected with my jazz life. Until I retired in 2013, I was a union representative with the American Federation of Government Employees working with locals at various federal agencies, one of which was the State Department. I don’t remember if it was during an administrative hearing or negotiations but during a break I got into a conversation with Carl Sosebee, the attorney representing the agency. I somehow steered the topic to my favorite subject, jazz. I told him that I did a radio show and taught jazz history at Georgetown and American universities, probably implying that I would rather devote my time to those activities than the somewhat contentious labor-management issue we were confronting. Carl sure brightened up and told me his brother-in-law was a jazz pianist and would be in a competition at the Smithsonian that was coming up. Carl is still with the government, currently senior counsel at the Peace Corp. He gets his musical satisfaction through his guitar.    more....
   
CD-351

The Larry McPeak Tribute Band
Larry's Songbook
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I was thrilled to learn that someone had decided to do a tribute project to the late Larry McPeak. I was even more excited to learn that Johnny Williams and Mike McPeak were the ones behind the idea. I knew it would be first class. When I listened to the project, I wasn't disappointed. Larry McPeak was a great songwriter, but more than that, he was also a great person. I consider it an honor to have called Larry my friend. Johnny and Mike have dug deep into Larry's vast catalog of songs and found some real diamonds. These songs, though maybe not as well-known as some of Larry's, are classic Larry McPeak. Well-written stories of life that we can all relate to. And having the McPeak family involved in the project truly gives the project the "McPeak sound".  I tried to pick out a few songs that I thought I could talk about. But in the end, I couldn't. I love them all. The songs are great. The musicians are fantastic, and the entire project is exceptional. So, play start to finish. I know that somewhere Larry is looking down and smiling that smile.......Hey Johnny...Mike, how about a Volume 2? I love sequels.

Tim Frye WPAQ , Mt Airy NC & WBRF, Galax, VA

   
CD-353
Michael Kelly
Kingfisher
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Michael Kelly is a songwriter, a singer and a multi-instrumentalist. He got his start in D.C., first by frequenting the now infamous Gallagher's Pub open mics Uptown where Mary Chapin was a bartender and later opening for national acts such as NRBQ. He took a brief hiatus to spend more time with family, re-emerged and currently performs regularly throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Drawing from both traditional and modern bluegrass, folk, blues and jazz, his music will draw you in and get your foot tapping. He has won numerous songwriting awards, placed in the Deer Creek Fiddler's Convention vocal competition and has recently released his third recording, Kingfisher, on the Patuxent Music label.
   
CD-346

Five Mile Mountain Road
Swingbilly Swagger
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For fiddler and founder of Five Mile Mountain Road Billy Hurt, Jr., Swingbilly Swagger is about more than just the band’s latest release. The title bears its own bravado representing an admixture of styles that rural musicians— including himself, his bandmates, and their mentors—have long absorbed and transmitted. In Billy’s home of Franklin County, Virginia, a profusion of musical influences thrive and inspire traditional musicians. And his word for this synthesis is swingbilly.

The term refers to Billy’s regional musical history. Older players that Billy met in his youth—figures that included Clark Kessinger, Burke Barbour, Jim Eanes, Clinton Gregory, Willie Gregory, Raymond Neighbors, and Bob Riley, as well the earlier presence on recordings of the Blue Ridge Highballers led by Charley La Prade, and above all, the legendary Charlie Poole—drew from a rich American songbook. They brought their music to the new media of radio broadcasts, phonograph records, and live public performances. more....

   
CD-352

Shannon Bielski & Moonlight Drive
Tennessee Heart
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Shannon Bielski began her musical journey at age seven with piano, soon progressing to violin. In her teens she took lessons in bluegrass fiddle from the phenomenal Rickie Simpkins, performed and recorded with the Zekiah Swamp Cats, and won a Public Performance Scholarship to attend the world-famous Bluegrass, Country, and Old-Time Music program at East Tennessee State University where she expanded her skills and talent with the help of teachers like Hunter Berry and Jason Leek. Her dreams of having her own band floated in the clouds over the moonlit mountains of Virginia on her drives north from Tennessee. Led by Shannon’s powerful and clear vocals, Moonlight Drive features hard driving instrumentals and heart-felt originals, with Kyle Windbeck on guitar, Rob Benzing on banjo, and Greg Mulley on bass. The ensemble won first place in the 2018 DCBU Mid-Atlantic Bluegrass Band Competition. Shannon has also been recognized for her song-writing talents, taking first place in the 2018 Deer Creek Fiddler’s Convention Songwriting Contest. more....
   
CD-344

Carolyn Eyerly
Sunny side of Life

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Carolyn Eyerly - Singer/songwriter, rhythm guitarist.

A native Northern Virginian, Carolyn grew up listening to Southern Rock and Bluegrass. Carolyn is a graduate of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts and anticipated returning to acting after her children had grown but found music to be an overwhelming draw.

In 2010, Carolyn was a founding vocalist for the acclaimed Washington, D.C.-based folk group, Shenandoah Run. After discovering the warm community which is bluegrass music Carolyn became a founding member of Sweet Yonder, an all-women bluegrass band, in 2014.  In 2019 Sweet Yonder was nominated for a WAMMIE award in two categories, Best Bluegrass Band and Best Bluegrass Album. The Sunny Side Of Life is Carolyn’s first solo project which includes seven of her original compositions. more....


   
CD-347

Willie Marschner


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   Popular music is a hard road to travel, I believe.  When it is marshalled in a glitzkrieg aimed just at making money, it loses musical and moral value - and easily becomes detrimental to the culture.  When it is cut off from change and ossified in the concert hall or the Smithsonian archive, it loses its vitality and relevance to the culture.  But there is a middle way.  It is a way that respects musical tradition and form enough to breathe life into it and keep it fresh and vibrant.   It is a way that remembers the intimate connection between music and dance, between music and the spirit, between body and soul. The flame of true American traditional – and yet popular – music does still burn.  It lives in the square dances of the Shenandoah Valley, Oktoberfests in the historically German villages of Texas, bals acadiens around Lafayette, LA, and in Irish sessions in Baltimore and Philadelphia.  It is out there, doing its thing the way it has since the earliest settlers shared their songs and their dance steps around a fire with Native Americans – though you won’t immediately find it on Spotify.     more....
   
CD-340

Donna & Roni Stoneman
The Legend Continues
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It will soon be a century since Ernest Van Stoneman first entered a studio to cut some of the first commercial country music ever recorded for release on phonograph discs. In doing so, he not only launched a music career for himself, but also started a family tradition that persists to this day. By 1926, his wife, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and soon a pair of cousins were assisting him in making recorded music. In 1934, his oldest son was there, too. From then onward future Stoneman children were picking and singing in studios, on stages, before television cameras, and even in motion pictures. While “Pop,” as he came to be called for obvious reasons, passed on in 1968, for his children, now reduced to two, the picking and singing of bluegrass music persists. Patuxent Records has come out with a third compact disc with brand new recordings documenting the music of this remarkable family.   more....
   
CD-345

Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition
My Best Friend
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Jay Armsworthy became an acquaintance over 30 years ago, and now, I've called him a friend for many years. We have much in common because my home base in southwestern Ohio has a rich bluegrass heritage similar to the neighborhood where Jay Armsworthy and Eastern Tradition reside.

The bluegrass music produced in the Baltimore and Washington DC region, and bluegrass cultivated in the Cincinnati and Dayton area are foundational to the genre. Presently, many of today's artists draw inspiration from the legendary musicians who inspired thousands from the smoky barrooms, fire halls and festivals in Maryland and Ohio. It's a sound certainly in the DNA of Jay Armsworthy and the guys in Eastern Tradition. more...
   
CD-339

Randy Barrett
Shake, Rattle & Roar

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 There are a small handful of banjo players who are adept at bluegrass three-finger picking and clawhammer’s rhythmic downstroke. Randy Barrett is one of those few and he alternates styles beautifully. On Shake, Rattle & Roar, you can hear the color of sound in the varying dynamics and harmonic structures. Randy is a tunesmith and arranger extraordinaire. Influenced by Earl Scruggs, Eric Weissberg and every old time tune he ever heard, Randy’s tone and timing ring true to the possibilities of the five-string banjo. His liquid fingerpicking on  “Midnight on the Water” reminds us of the emotion a well-played banjo can evoke.  He takes you square dancing on “Tiber Creek.” The depth of the recording comes full circle in the exquisite version of “Walkin’ Boss," which came to the folk world through Clarence Tom Ashley. Randy builds a bluegrass arrangement of this song, adding verses to expand the story line with his rich voice.  more.....
   
CD-333

Stephen Wade
A Storyteller's Story
Sources of Banjo Dancing
Includes 44 page booklet
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“Stephen Wade is arguably the best non-grass five-string banjo player around. His loyal following includes people who saw Banjo Dancing, his one-man stage show created from folksongs, stories, banjo tunes, and his own personal insights.” —BLUEGRASS UNLIMITED

                In May 1979 a young musician named Stephen Wade opened a one-man show at a small yet adventurous off-Loop theater in Chicago. Called Banjo Dancing, or the 48th Annual Squitters Mountain Song, Dance, Folklore Convention & Banjo Contest and How I Lost, it consisted of songs, tunes, and stories sourced in American folklore and literature, accompanied by his five-string banjo and percussive dance steps.

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CD-338

South Carolina Broadcasters
Home to Stay

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   Dear Listener: Here for you is an offering of hillbilly music as presented by a group deeply rooted in the Appalachian musical tradition. Unadorned instruments and three voices singing the songs of their homeland as only those who know and feel it can.

   David Sheppard picked up the guitar at a young age, drawn to the sounds of acoustic instruments. His earliest memory is of being surrounded by grown-ups towering over him belting out old hymns in his grandfather's Methodist church. He never holds back in his singing, and has a great sense of how to write a compelling song. “Home To Stay” is a recollection of his first visit to the farm where Ivy grew up. Discovering early on that he had a penchant for stringed instrument repair and restoration, he's now sought out by vintage instrument enthusiasts worldwide and also builds Radio King guitars.

   Jackson Cunningham comes at the music naturally. Inspired by his father and the Stanley Brothers, and drawn to the mountains of southwest Virginia, he embodies that high lonesome sound. A multi-instrumentalist and soulful singer, he hearkens back to an earlier day when the music was simpler and came straight from the heart. His exquisitely tasteful mandolin playing reminds one immediately of an old Rich-R-Tone record. He's also a world-renowned builder of acoustic archtop and flattop Cunningham guitars.    more.....

   
CD-329

Bryan Bowers Band
Woodland Dream
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There are those of us who’ve had the privilege of knowing Bryan Bowers since the early 70’s. We know him as an autoharp master, singer of songs, teller of tales (some short, some…), wooer of women, friend, brother, and solo performer extraordinaire. Now we have another side of the coin with the Bryan Bowers Band. A trio, Bryan’s voice is beautifully “framed” surrounded by the voices of Danny Knicely and Geoff Goodhue. The vocal blend is unique, the kind you don’t often hear, and the songs selected for “Woodland Dream”, moving and soulful.

While mainly a vocal group their instrumental blend features Bryan in a new light we haven’t heard before. He is playing mandocello, guitar, and of course autoharp, blending with Danny on mandolin, mandocello and guitar and Geoff joining on guitar and mandolin, both being masterful musicians themselves. Be it instrumentals, song, or a cappella vocal trios, this music is from the heart, done for all the right reasons… simply put, it’s obvious these guys love playing and singing together.

Sam Bush

   
CD-321

Carrying On The Legacy
Music by Contemporary Piedmont Blues Musicians
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When Phil Wiggins and I wrote the book “Sweet Bitter Blues – Washington D.C.’s Homemade Blues” (University Press of Mississippi, 2020), we reflected on the acoustic local blues scene during the life and times of Phil Wiggins in his own African American community. At its core, the D.C. area acoustic “down home” blues scene was rooted with a small group of musicians, proud and beloved men and women; Mother Scott, Flora Molton, Chief Ellis, Archie Edwards, John Jackson, John Cephas & Phil Wiggins. The musicians in Washington, D.C., who are no longer with us, have left an important legacy: “Carry on this music. Keep it going.” Our friends and compatriots who are featured on this collection were all connected in some way to the elders. As you will hear, they carry on the Piedmont tradition and related acoustic roots music with passion, love and reverence. Thanks to all contributors

                                                                            - Frank Matheis, New York 2019

   
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