Don’t Fret: Professor Trischka Is Here!6 February 2012
The Joe Val Bluegrass Festival— New England’s annual rebuke to winter— again looms large. I’m looking forward to catching up with Sierra Hull, The Whites, Della Mae, Blue Highway, Josh Williams and many other acts in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I still have some fine stuff from the 2011 fest to share.
As I’ve pointed out in the past, the fact that Joe Val takes place indoors makes its workshops unique, in that the performers don’t struggle to hear or be heard. As a result, these sessions are often intimate and informative. As an example, check out banjo ace Tony Trischka as he holds forth in this first of two new videos:
Some musicians, either by inclination or philosophy, seem incapable of revealing anything about the mysteries and insights embedded in their music. They play essentially the same material in a workshop that they would perform on stage. When asked to demonstrate a technique or explain a musical choice, they stammer or bluster for a bit and then play another tune. Not so with Trischka, who is clearly a natural teacher. He comes to these workshops fairly bursting with ideas to share, and for all the attention to technical detail in his remarks, he always brings it all back to the sound and the music. As his adaptation of that almost forgotten musical form, the foxchase, illustrates, he also always has his ears wide open.
If you can’t make it to one of Prof. Trischka’s workshops, don’t fret: he makes house calls, virtually speaking. Like a growing number of “A List” bluegrassers, Trischka gives lessons via online video exchanges. I’m not shilling here, but I heard a couple of satisfied alums of Tony Trischka’s School of Banjo speak up in the Joe Val audience.
The Trischka video clip marks an important new chapter here at Second Cousin Curly World Headquarters. It was edited by Paul Villanova, our new Minister of Propaganda. Thanks to his efforts, the video crackles with wit and vigor. Watch this space for more of his work.
Yer Pal— Curly