Jeremy Welsh

Review: Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile

Every Friday for the past two years, my morning commute has been made that much better by the few seconds I get to hear the Ebony Hillbillies. Situated at the Grand Central end of the Shuttle, the quartet of banjo, fiddle, upright bass, and percussion produce this simple brand of bluegrass for the waves of crowds.

Because of the frequency of the shuttles, I usually do not get to hear much of their music (rushing as I am to get into work), but what I do hear never ceases to put a smile on my face. There is something about traditional American string music that I have always had an affinity for — its pureness, singularity to the instruments, the virtuosity that is so readily apparent. Even in an underground and damp venue like a subway stop, the sound of their music coming through the tiled hallway seems to lift my step.

On first glance, Wednesday night’s concert could not have been any more different. A MacArthur Genius Grant winner and a (child) prodigy teaming up to play a complex amalgam of classical and bluegrass-influenced compositions in the most hallowed hall in all of America. As soon as my wife emailed me that Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile were playing together at Carnegie Hall, I stopped what I was doing at work and rushed to purchase tickets.

READ ON for more of Jeremy’s Meyer/Thile w/ Mark O’Connor review…

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JWelsh: An Ode To The Filler

I am not going to deny that I make full use of the immediate gratification that the internet provides. If some hard-working taper uploads a concert from his hotel room just hours after the concert, I am going to race to bt.etree or DimeADozen and jump on board the torrent. Or if I hear of a “must hear” show, I am going to head over to the Archive and see what I can find. Long gone are the days of waiting a week or two before groveling for tapes, or scouring lists with DeadBase open to once side, one eye on dates and the other eye on the generation and grade of the recording.

I am sure there are quite a number of people who would wax nostalgic about the loss of the trading process, the camaraderie, the research and discovery. And I will admit that I miss those things to some extent. But one aspect of tape trading that has been on my mind recently was the concept of fillers. I absolutely loved fillers. To me, they were like the Stockings on a Christmas Morning. Sure, I made a list of gifts that I was interested in and distributed it to my parents and family — the little surprises, the treats so to speak, were to be found in the Stockings. Fillers were these little treats that came at the end of the large, expected Gifts.

READ ON to find out Jeremy’s favorite fillers, and to list your own…

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