|Dimensions||22 × 16 × .50 cm|
The songs and instrumentals on this Old Time and Bluegrass sampler are all popular banjo standards. They are the same ones used in the Fingerstyle ‘How to Play 5-String Banjo’ videos. Each song has at least one verse and chorus – enough to establish the melody.
Wendy Holman – banjo, guitar, vocals and harmonies
CD review by Tony Smith
This album is subtitled ‘If you love the sound of banjo’.
Well anyone would love the much maligned banjo the way Wendy Holman plays it.
Whether mountain style, bluegrass or Scruggs, Wendy Holman picks cleanly and clearly.
She is a true ambassador for the instrument.
On this 2005 album, Wendy Holman plays banjo, guitar and synthesiser and manipulates the tracks cleverly to record simultaneously.
Even better, she explains simply and briefly what she is doing artistically and technically on each track.
Indeed, she mentions that these banjo classics are intended primarily for her students at www.fingerstyle.com.au and one track she wrote, ‘MTMT Rag’, specifically for them, was to demonstrate some important techniques.
One thing is obvious, there is great cross fertilisation between banjo and guitar when played by such an aware exponent as Wendy Holman.
While she might use the ‘vamp’ sometimes, the picked arpeggio shows both instruments at their best.
While Holman says that her voice is not ‘brilliant’ she presents these traditional tunes more than adequately.
Some lyrics in these mainly American backwoods songs have the potential to produce a whine or rasp but Holman’s voice is perfectly sweet, while not losing any strength.
She supplies the lyrics as well as notes about how she plays each piece.
The tracks include several in two versions the better to appreciate the differences in style.
‘I’ll Fly Away’, ‘Blackberry Blossom’ and ‘Cripple Creek’ lend themselves to these contrasting treatments.
Other tracks include ‘Little Magpie’, ‘Two Dollar Bill’, ‘Wildwood Flower’, ‘Down in the Valley’, ‘Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms’, ‘Worried Man Blues’ and the beautiful gospel song, ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken’.
You might think that some of these titles are not familiar but most people will recognise both the instrumentals and the songs.
There is also a ‘karaoke’ style ‘Waltzing Matilda’ to which she supplies the lyrics (in case anyone does not know them!) and ‘Thank You’, a brief concluding track in which she gets ‘fluffy’ about musical friends while ‘doodling’ in open G tuning.
Wendy Holman has produced a CD that is both entertaining and educational.
While there should be no contradiction between the two, this CD is outstanding in both ways.
After listening to Wendy Holman, many more music fans should love the sound of the banjo, and quite a few will try the instrument themselves.
6 in stock (can be backordered)