This week on The String (11.19), Craig sits down at the dining room table of Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn to talk about the most banjo-centric marriage in the world. Their new album Echo In The Valley follows up on their smash debut duo of three years ago. Their collaboration is intense and ongoing. Also, Nashville video producer Steve Boyle talks about a two year effort to restore and release 82 episodes of the Jimmy Dean Show, an historic country music network series from the early 1960s almost lost to time. Sunday morning. Monday night. The String with Craig Havighurst. Conversations about culture, media and American music on WMOT.
It’s a love story, with an all banjo soundtrack. Hollywood would never buy the pitch. But it’s better that it’s real life. Béla Fleck is the most famous banjo player of his time, a searcher who’s played and preserved traditional bluegrass while innovating on his instrument in jazz fusion and classical concert music, among many other things. Abigail Washburn, with great suddenness, embraced Appalachian old time banjo and folk singing, becoming one of the most revered traditional artists of her generation. These two esteemed but very different artists found one another fascinating and then captivating. Now they’re touring with their young son and releasing duo music that sounds like nothing that’s ever come before it.
Old time, bluegrass and the post-bluegrass fusion styles innovated by Béla Fleck all exist today in roots music side by side. But on their two albums as a duo, Béla and Abby fuse and mesh their vivid instrumental voices in sometimes uncanny ways. The new project is titled Echo In The Valley.
Also, a visit to the video studio of Steve Boyle, who got the job restoring the historic Jimmy Dean Show, a major national platform for country music between 1963 and 1966.
The String airs at 8:00am on Sunday and again at 8:00pm on Monday!