While the phrase “du jour” may be familiar to coffee house goers and soup connoisseurs, it may be one that much of the bluegrass world encounters only rarely, especially where their music is concerned. However, there is at least one group of artists who are extremely familiar which the French term meaning “from the day,” or “special to that day.” Since 2002, the guys in the Matt Flinner Trio, featuring Matt Flinner (mandolin), Ross Martin (guitar) and Eric Thorin (bass) have been using the phrase as a muse for creating new musical pieces.
According to Flinner, on each day that the group spends playing shows out on the road during one of their Music du Jour tours (which they began in 2006), each member challenges himself to compose a new tune.he band often performs these pieces on stage hours or even minutes later. Their first album on Compass Records, which was comprised of a collection of these Music du Jour pieces, debuted in 2009. Now, with the onset of their sixth year of mostly west coast outings, the band is embarking on an eastern excursion, appearing in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky during their first few appearances.
Currently armed with a new group of material derived from their last set of dates, the band is releasing a new project entitled Winter Harvest on Compass Records. It is a collection of twelve tunes which collectively exist as a mixture of classical and jazz influenced pieces, each of which revolve around a central chord structure, separating these compositions from free jazz numbers.
Flinner’s Trio guys may be only a three-piece band, but they use their instruments to the fullest extent. Both plucked and bowed bass lines exist among a host of flowing chord structures and complicated arrangements, all executed with pinpoint precision.
Emotion seems to flow from these clever pieces. The Stumbling Bro, complete with the sounds of shattering glass, has an interesting bass line which creates a swing or blues-like texture. Tunes like Winter Wheat exhibit soothing qualities, while others like Raji’s Romp and Slapping is Encouraged, seem playful and energetic. Arco, yet another “du jour” piece, seems to lean toward thematic classical composition.
For those listeners who may tire of the incessant 1-4-5 drive musical compositions often associated with the bluegrass music genre, Winter Harvest could be a welcome change. However, the new age acoustic sounds of the well-versed Matt Flinner Trio could seem like elevator music at first to the uninitiated – but there is much to enjoy if you give it a chance.
With a resume that includes performing with artists like Leftover Salmon, Darrell Scott, Tony Trischka, and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Matt Flinner is more than qualified to lead this courageous trio.
For more information regarding Matt Flinner, the trio, or to see where they’ll be performing at a venue near you, you can visit www.mattflinner.com.
About the Author (Author Profile)
John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, and is now pursuing a Masters degree in Appalachian Studies at ETSU.
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