I made record time driving from home in the Hudson Valley in New York to Newark Airport last week. Usually there’s tons of time to sit in traffic and cogitate about what’s up, what’s to do. Luckily (and thanks to the coffee), today my mind was also racing at about the speed of my car:
Last weekend belonged to the Olympia Old Time Music Festival in Washington State. So great to be in one of the epicenters of old-time music for millennia, and this festival is in the middle of that middle.
Now there’s a day to pack, and then the Rauland Vinterfestivalen in Norway. Yes, it’s cold, but so beautiful. And passionate musicians! Workshops, jams and craic in a nice warm school building. Add a couple of concerts with Arto Järvelä and Ånon Egeland, one in the beautiful Riksscenen in Oslo. I can’t wait for that.
Then it gets busy. Our new trio, Molsky’s Mountain Drifters will be hitting the road with concerts throughout the year (including one in my little city of Beacon, NY at the legendary Towne Crier on March 6!) We’re also hitting the studio to record our first CD at Dimension Sound Studios. Looking forward to working once again with whiz engineer Dan Cardinal there.
I’ll be bouncing all over the place with solo concerts and workshops. Please take a look at my tour page for dates and deets. Two-and-a-half weeks in Scotland and England will be a special highlight in May.
There are some very special camps, if you’d like to grab your instrument and get your musical feet wet:
Our first annual Old Time Rollick is going to be a great and intense weekend of old time music immersion and community. Debra Clifford and I are hosting at the beautiful Ashokan Center in the Catskills.
Silkroad’s Global Musician Workshop will feature musicians from all over the world, proving again that there is more in common between cultures than that which separates them. I’m already ruminating about how the melodies and rhythms of old-time mountain music could intertwine and speak alongside balafon, oud, celtic harp. This should be a wonderful one-week journey, and I’m honored to have been asked.
Berklee’s Global String Intensive will have it’s second gathering in Boston in June as well, and will offer an incredible palette of bow-based styles, from folk and bluegrass to jazz, classical, middle eastern music and everything in between. It’s been life-changing for me to be part of the Berklee community, and this event is really a confluence of many of the things that make it a great place to study.
Look for a great new CD from Joe Walsh coming soon. Tunes and songs almost all written by the mando master, with equally masterful performances from Brittany Haas, Courtney Hartmann, Karl Doty, plus an occasional dark-cornered Alfred Hitchcock-ish glimpse of me. I’m proud to be producing such a fine and soulful set of music.
If all this helps to bring spring on that much more quickly, then that’s fine with me. I’m into moving quickly.
Greetings! Just starting to look back at all that’s happened this past year. If I don’t put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, or whatever, the memories will slip away. A few highlights:
A couple of weeks ago was the last concert with Anonymous 4 and our commemorative project, 1865 - Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War. It was a fabulous and fun run with four singers I respect so, so much. Sadly, the group is ending at the end of this year - I feel lucky to have snuck in on the tail end of that, and to have been involved in the CD.
Right before that was a couple of weeks of touring with my pals Aly Bain and Ale Möller in Scotland and England. A lot of hours in the van together, and a lot of great conversation. Getting to play music at the end of each day was like a big reward for just having made it to the next stop. I brought back more copies of our CD "Meeting Point" recorded live at The Liverpool Philharmonic during our last tour!
There was the beginning of a new and overdue CD with Mozaik (Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny et al). And I also had the thrill of producing a wonderful CD by emerging artist Adrianna Ciccone, which landed her with Instrumentalist Of The Year in the Canadian Folk Awards. So happy for Adrianna!
And Rollicking Into 2016 The Ashokan Old Time Rollick! For a long time I thought on what an old-time music camp might be if I had the place and time to put it together. Jay Ungar and Molly Mason came through with that opportunity, and the result will be a brand new weekend immersion course. Hosted by Debra Clifford and myself, we’ll be offering fiddle, banjo, guitar, singing and more in a beautiful setting. Info at http://ashokan.org/old-time-rollick/.
Molsky’s Mountain Drifters. My new trio features clawhammer banjo virtuoso Allison de Groot and incredible guitarist/vocalist Stash Wyslouch. Can’t wait for our very first show together on December 13 at Jalopy in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY (fiddle and banjo workshops that afternoon as well). We’ll be touring around and getting our musical sea legs all through 2016, please check my website for dates.
And speaking of website, I’ve got a brand new one! Same URL (brucemolsky.com), but all reconfigured for easier navigation and new content. Monstrous thanks to Audrey Molsky for putting it all together.
A new, live-in-the-living room DVD will be out in a couple of months on David Bragger’s wonderful Old-Time Tiki Parlour series. Already out are Rafe & Clelia Stefanini, Eric & Susie Thompson, Dan Gellert and David's own just out. A real labor of love by a wonderful human being who has dedicated and thrown himself at this very cool project.
So that kind of sums it up for this beginning of the holiday season. If you’re looking for a musical gift, please check out our new website store. Happy holidays to everyone, and please keep on keeping in touch! Warm wishes for cold months, Bruce
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On the train to NYC this morning to meet a cousin who I didn’t even know existed a month ago! Apparently there’s a whole branch of our family in Brazil, and a whole lot of musicians in that branch of the family, so I’m really excited to learn more. My cousin Manu is a very fine samba style guitarist, and we’re both big fans of Luis Bonfa. This is going to be fun!
While the Hudson River is flying by on my left, here’s a little bit of what’s been happening lately, musically speaking:
The first annual Old Time Rollick is now a reality. Debra Clifford and I are thrilled to be hosting a brand new weekend of old-time music immersion and community, April 1 to 3, 2016 at the Ashokan Campus in the Catskill Mountains. Fiddle, banjo, guitar and singing classes will be offered, plus special sessions in mandolin, dances, jamming, some very fine food, all in a very beautiful setting. Early enrollment discounts before Dec 1! Details and signups here: ashokan.org/old-time-rollick.
With 7 years since our last CD, and over a year since our last tour, Mozaik got together near Budapest last month to record. Wonderful new songs from Andy, tunes from Dònal and Nikola, and old tunes from Rens and me. No release date set, but the music is all there. Check out our previous cds:Changing Trains and Live from the Powerhouse.
SUGGESTIONS PLEASE! Peghead Nation just celebrated its first anniversary offering video lessons in a variety of roots styles, and I’ve really enjoyed presenting old-time fiddling there. My next round of filming is in a couple of weeks. What would you like to see? Tunes, topics you’d like to see explored? Please write and send suggestions and thoughts! And if you’re new to Peghead Nation, please check us out with a free month trial at pegheadnation.com/string-school/courses/old-time-fiddle.
On top of that, I’m honored to have officially joined the faculty at Berklee College of Music. Love my students there and looking forward to digging deeper and deeper into roots music from every possible angle.
It seems like a lot, I suppose it is. But I never ever grow tired of music. Playing, listening, teaching, learning, it’s all good. I hope your musical experiences are wonderful too, and hope to meet you out there! Stay in touch...