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“Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail”: the new album by Noam Pikelny

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Beat the devilAs we have repeatedly pointed out on these pages, the American folk scene is not only characterized by attention to the revivalist tradition, but is rather dynamic and innovative in many ways. On the one hand the expressive scenario that, by different routes, flows into the genre and internationally recognize as folk, is constantly reshaped by the contribution of many “veterans” and artists related primarily to other genres: Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Ry Cooder , Willie Nelson, etc. On the other hand, the youth scene – as indeed happens in other “productive” areas of American society – plays an increasingly central role, actively contributing to the process of renewal of musical expressions more tied to tradition, discovering new possibilities through the study and the technique of folk instruments. This is the case of Chris Thile, mandolin player, which explores the many “souls” of the folk, through his Punch Brothers, but also other teams, artists and projects, such as Nickel Creek, the duo with Edgar Mayer, collaborations with Mike Marshall, Béla Fleck, Glen Phillips, and has even dedicated an album to Bach, released in 2013 under the title “Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1”. It is the case of Noam Pikelny, banjo player in his companion Punch Brothers, which in 2010 won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, a check for $ 50,000 that was delivered directly to the David Letterman show (the prize was recently awarded to Sammy Shelor of the Lonesome River Band, Mark Johnson Jens Kruger and Eddie Adcock). Pikelny published – for the label Alliance – “Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail”, a great album, full of “strings”, full of passion and visions. A record that we have to define contemporary folk in which, following the circular reflection that revolves around American music, also appears “Fish and Bird”, a cover of Tom Waits, published in the album “Alice” in 2002.

Autore: Daniele Cestellini

Daniele Cestellini ha scritto 752 articoli.

This article is available also in: Italian



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