We are happy to have songwriter, singer, 5-string banjo player, and banjo uke player Valerie June back on Deering Live. Valerie recently wrote a children's book that is published by Third Man Books called "Somebody To Love: The Story Of Valerie June's Sweet Little Baby Banjolele". Valerie will play some tunes on her banjolele, read some from the book, and talk about it's creation.
Joining her on Deering Live will be Marcela Avelar who created the illustrations in the book. Marcela is a fantastic artist, designer, and more. Her work can be seen in advertisements as well as album covers for musicians like Special K’s, Aloysius 3, So Brown, Wes Hutchinson, and Norah Jones. She also designed the stage for Norah Jones’ 2017 Day Breaks World Tour.
Valerie's energy has some of the most positive vibes you'll ever meet and listening to her play and talk about her book will send you back into the world with a smile on your face.
Michael Miles is back on Deering Live to demonstrate and teach us about how rhythmically versatile the clawhammer style of playing the 5-string banjo can be and how this style can be utilized to play many different genres of music. Michael is a master clawhammer player and well-versed in many musical styles so be sure to tune in and learn.
We're happy to have longtime Deering banjo artist Mark Schatz with his musical partner Bryan McDowell on Deering Live. In early 2020 Mark called on his friend and ace multi-instrumentalist and singer, Bryan McDowell, to tour together as a duo. Live in Mark’s studio they recorded GRIT & POLISH, an acoustic tour de force that moves effortlessly from original fiddle tunes and songs to Louis Jordan Boogie Woogie and Bob Dylan.
Colton Crawford is the banjo player from Canadian roots music four-piece, the Dead South - A rock band without a drummer, a bluegrass band without a fiddler. Their sound, built on a taut configuration of cello, mandolin, banjo, and guitar, speeds like a train past polite definitions of acoustic music into the grittier, rowdier spaces of the bluegrass world.
Colton is a Deering Artist who plays both clawhammer and three-finger style, using a Vega Little Wonder and Saratoga Star as his main tools.
Colton can also be found regularly on Twitch, where he can be found covering metal songs on banjo. Who doesn't love that?
Jake Sawicki is the banjo player for the self-described thrash grass band, The Native Howl who hail from Leonard, MI. Their 2016 release of "Thrash Grass" unleashed the newly-coined genre of the same name, combining the aggressiveness and intensity of thrash metal with the melodicism and precision of bluegrass. Jake is here to talk about pushing the boundaries of how a banjo can be used, appearing on the TV Show "No Cover" and spending the last few months touring with shock rockers GWAR.
We're very excited to feature the longtime banjoist for Alison Kraus & Union Station, Ron Block, on Deering Live. When it comes to bluegrass banjo, Ron is simply one of the best in the business. His feel, tone, and timing drive the music that is rooted deeply in tradition but continues to push it into the future.
British clawhammer virtuoso Dan Walsh joins us on Deering Live to talk about his unique take on clawhammer playing, and whether clawhammer should be regarded as a technique or a genre. Dan is a long-time Deering artist and if you are not familiar with him, he has a fascinating approach to playing banjo. This episode will be well worth tuning in for!
Michael J Miles is a composer and musician who grew up in the heart of urban Chicago and teaches at the infamous Old Town School of Music. His inner jukebox spins with 500 years of pop songs on late night radio, infused with conversations about poetry, politics, and singing around the piano with his Irish family. These songs turn into setlists, and compositions and as they say, the rest is history.
Michael is an electrifying performer, educator, and bender of genres. You simply have to hear him play.
Max Allard is a gifted young 5-string banjoist in the 3 finger style. He has been the winner of the 2018 RockyGrass Banjo Competition and the 2019 FreshGrass Banjo Award. He performs as a solo artist, in a duo with his brother Otto Allard, and has toured the midwest with the Minneapolis based progressive bluegrass band Barbaro.
Max has a new album out called Odes / Codes that was produced by banjoist Jayme Stone. You can take a listen to it below. He is an extremely good young banjo player. He is currently studying composition at the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory.
"A new mature and poetic voice on the 5 string banjo. Beautiful compositions and a very nice touch.”
— Béla Fleck
Detroit Brooks is one of New Orleans top session and touring guitar and banjo players on the scene. He has toured around the world and recorded or played with musicians such as Dr. John, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Donald Harrison, Charmaine Neville, and many more. Detroit is deeply concerned with keeping the traditional music of New Orleans alive. He created the Danny Barker Festivalwhich celebrates the music of Danny Barker and brings groups into the schools of New Orleans to teach about the banjo in New Orleans music.
This week we're featuring Tony Furtado on Deering Live. Tony has been away from the banjo scene for a while but in 2021 he came storming back with his banjo-focused release Decembering. Tony is a monster 3-finger style banjo player and has recorded with Alison Kraus and many others.
Victor Furtado is a monster of a clawhammer banjo player who while deeply understanding and respecting the old-time tradition, has developed new techniques to bring this style into the modern acoustic music space. Victor has won numerous awards including the 2019 Steve Martin Prize For Banjo. We are excited to feature this young banjo wiz on Deering Live!
5-string banjo master Ryan Cavanaugh returns to Deering Live this week! In this episode, we will explore how to comp chords for 20th-century American music styles other than bluegrass.
Ryan will show you examples of how to voice chords on the 5-string banjo for styles such as traditional New Orleans jazz, swing, bebop, modal jazz, funk, and rock & roll.
Ben Wright is a founding member of the Henhouse Prowlers, taking the band on the road for more than 15 years and proudly leading Chicago’s robust bluegrass scene.
The Prowlers have recorded 8 albums and tour relentlessly, having garnered a large following across the planet. The band blends their own original material with songs written in multiple languages, learned from their extensive travels.
In 2013, the Henhouse Prowlers began working with the US State Department as musical diplomats, to date they have traveled to more than 25 countries. During these tours, Ben started to see the opportunities for education and diplomacy at home were just as valuable as the international exchanges, inspiring him (and his business partner Jon Goldfine) to start the 501(c)3 non-profit Bluegrass Ambassadors.
The band now works through this entity to bring cross-cultural music education to children in low-income schools, college students in universities, and festival attendees; striving to remind people that diplomacy isn’t just for diplomats; blending global folk music traditions with cultural awareness and understanding.
Since Covid, Ben was hired by American Voices, the implementing partner for the State Department cultural programs, to help transition musical diplomacy work into the virtual setting.