ASHEVILLE On the tail of their critically acclaimed 2015 album, Lost at Last, independently releases a brand new 5-song EP, Triangular, on December 2,2016. With roots in gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and hip-hop in an “exhilarating all-acoustic swirl” (Acoustic Guitar Magazine), Jon Stickley Trio combines Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage on drums.
“In a time when a lot of instrumental music feels more like math than art, Jon Stickley Trio’s Triangular reminds us of the pure joy that can be created and shared through music,” says Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck.
The EP, Triangular, was recorded at Blue Sprocket Sound in Harrisonburg, VA this summer and was sent early to anyone that donated $10 or more to their recent successful http://kck.st/2e0lTzL to help them head back into Echo Mountain Recording Studio this winter with Producer Dave King (Of The Bad Plus) to record a yet un-named new full length album due out in 2017. The band surpassed their goal and reached $29,120 and is currently in studio recording..
“I like to think of music as a two way street, a reciprocal experience between musician and audience,” says Lyndsay Pruett. “The Kickstarter campaign really affirms my view on that. And it truly becomes about more than the money. Money is the thing we all know we need to make the world go around, but this process allows people to have an extra level of personal involvement. We have conversations with people we’ve met at shows from all over the country, and they become involved in the next record. Then when we go back to those places to play the music for them the experience is more substantial, and more fun, of course.”
Triangular features five songs leading out with with “Blackburn Brothers”, of which Beck says, “While the opening notes remind the listener of Tony Rice’s Manzanita (one of the greatest acoustic guitar albums of all time), one is suddenly catapulted into Jackson 5 territory a few minutes later in the same song. Sure, comparisons to previous musicians are a good way to explain a new artist to the masses, but to do so is to cheat Stickley of what he really is: a damn genius, a musical mastermind, and one of the most unique, creative, and inventive guitar players I’ve ever heard.”
“Plain Sight” was penned by Jon after the mass shooting at a concert in Paris. ”It’s as much an angry response to the perpetrators as it is a mournful tribute to the victims,” says Stickley. The music features Lyndsay’s delicate pizzicato violin plucking, Patrick’s breakbeat drum vibes, and Stickley’s signature high speed shredding. The third phase of the tune breaks down to a gentle trading of melodic lines by Jon and Lyndsay.
“Palm Tree” is a tropically themed dance tune has become a staple of the band’s live shows. It changes time signatures between 5/4 and 6/8, but remains danceable and accessible. The purpose of “Palm Tree” is to jam out and have fun, and that’s what the Trio does on this track. You can hear Jon and Lyndsay pushing each other while Patrick “cooks” underneath, heating up the skillet till its HOT.
“Echolocation”’ is a tribute to whales and the beautiful songs they sing underwater. The most evocative of the songs on the record, it features the cello-like longbows of Lyndsay’s violin that mimic the whales’ songs. Patrick’s epic drum solo over Lyndsay and Jon’s unison arpeggios is a climactic moment that is one of the band’s most dazzling recorded moments to date.
“Manzanita” is a classic composition by Jon’s hero, guitarist Tony Rice, is arguably one of the most important pieces of music in Newgrass history. The Trio recorded this song as a tribute to those who came before and took musical risks that changes the history of music.
“Since bluegrass players started delving into jazz, they’ve been composing progressive acoustic music, but so much of it has lacked the comfort in its own skin that Stickley’s songs possess.” Anders Beck says of Stickley’s style,“I could go on and on about how amazing it is that his twisty and turny songs don’t feel forced, and always bob and weave at the right time; or how Stickley’s guitar playing shares as much in common with the flow of the greatest rappers of all time as it does with his flatpicking heroes… I think you get my point. Stop reading this and go listen to his new EP.”
Jon Stickley Trio has evolved into a fully formed, musical identity that was just beginning to take shape on the first record. Stickley realizes, “Our musicality has matured individually, and collectively to the extent that we can read each other, and respond to each other in a completely intuitive and natural way. We can’t wait to take our matured sound back into Echo Mountain with our mentor and producer, Dave King.”
All of this interlocks, and is propelling the band into the future. Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst says “A new generation of bluegrass-reared instrumental explorers is coming into its own, and the Stickley Trio is in the vanguard.” While the group does their thing in the studio, they are happy to share Triangular with the world now!
Triangular track Listing:
1. Blackburn Brothers 4:16
2. Plain Sight 4:26
3. Palm Tree 4:49
4. Echolocation 4:50
5. Manzanita 3:31
WATCH Jon Stickley Trio Perform ‘Echolocation’ on Music City Roots
For more information, updates from the road, and more, please visit http://www.jonstickley.com, http://www.facebook.com/JonStickleyTrio, http://www.instagram.com/jonstickleytrio, and https://twitter.com/StickleyMusic