Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Road Trip Music: southern California

Southern California: a land of movie stars, palm trees, borders with Mexico, beaches, sprawling cities and small towns, sunshine and wind. As the great American road trip,alison brown company you keep cover powered by book and film suggestions over at a Traveler's Library, heads to southern California, on the music side of things I’m taking note of the fact that southern California is also a land of bluegrass.

Vince Gill, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan, Sweethearts of the Rodeo: bluegrass and country greats who have all spent time in the southern California bluegrass scene. So has Alison Brown, from whom comes the soundtrack for this section of our trip.

Brown is a much awarded banjo player and composer, and cofounder of the independent record company Compass Records. For her own music, she includes a healthy helping of bluegrass, and adds in confident work in jazz and in Celtic music as well -- sometimes all in the same piece. All of this comes into play in the album I recommend for your listening on this part of the trip, The Company You Keep.

It is always good to see Brown at work, too. You can do that on her recent dvd Alison Brown Quartet - Live at Blair with Joe Craven. That’s a concert recorded at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Several tunes from The Company You Keep are part of the concert, and therealison brown live at blair cover are several of Brown's earlier pieces as well, including The Wonderful Sea Voyage of Holy Saint Brendan and Goin’ to Glasgow.

you may also wish to see

Music Road: The Last Star: Heidi Talbot
Music Road: Shannon Heaton: The Blue Dress
Music Road: Carrie Newcomer: Before & After

This is part of The Great American Road Trip, in which I originally partnered up with A Traveler’s Library to add musical ideas to the book and film suggestions for journeys through the regions of the United States which you’d find there. The Library is closed now, but I think you will still find the journeys through music interesting.
For more about the road trip (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Vera Marie said...

Hi Kerry. Okay, you can listen to bluegrass in LA if you want to, but for once I'm going to part company with you and stick to cooooool jazz that goes with my Noir mood.

8:36 PM  
Blogger kerry dexter said...

just give a listen to some of Alison's stuff -- she's as interested in jazz as you are.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous NoPotCooking said...

I never associated SoCal with bluegrass! Interesting!

11:38 AM  

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