I stumbled upon a great show the other night in Winston-Salem, and by stumble, I mean I had to be there to play myself. My band was playing the late show at the Garage, and the early show was a couple of banjo/fiddle players that had composed the soundtrack for the film Cold Mountain. I hadn’t seen the movie, but I had read the book so it peaked my interest.
The set opened with Riley Baugus who would play a 3 minute song, then tell a 10 minute story. While some may find this annoying, I found it quite spectacular. Not everyone is a good storyteller, but Baugus is just as good a literary craftsman as he is a picker, working his way through folk and family history flawlessly on his instrument and in his tales. Eriksen took the stage to accompany Baugus on a couple of songs, then did a solo set as well. The fiddle was his main instrument (Baugus focused on banjo) but he also showed he could weld an acoustic axe and other stringed creatures just as effortlessly. He played a number of traditionals and originals and also shared his wealth of knowledge of folk music with the attentive audience of around 75 people.
I had to opportunity to speak with both of the musicians who had been traveling around together for a few days and both were the nicest guys (ruining my theory that nice guys = crappy musicians) and very sincere with their love of “old-timey” music. Definitely check out a show by either of these fine players if they are in your neck of the woods.
RIYL: banjos, moonshine, grandma’s home cooking
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