The long-awaited twin mandolin project from Wayne Benson and Alan Bibey, The Mandolin Chronicles, has been announced for a March 12 release on Pinecastle. It celebrates not only these two stellar musicians, but also the classic prewar instruments they each use on the recordings.
Assisting is an all-star rhythm section, made up of Ron Stewart on banjo and fiddle, Wyatt Rice on guitar, and Harold Nixon on bass. The lone vocal track, Another Night, which will shortly be released as a single, is performed by Alan Bibey and Russell Moore.
Benson and Bibey started planning this record a few years back, and were talking to Pinecastle about it prior to the company closing down in February 2010. When Lonnie Lassiter revived the company later that year, discussions about this project resumed. Following many months of pre-production and scheduling logistics, the tracking and mixing have recently been concluded.
The tunes chosen for The Mandolin Chronicles represent originals from both Alan and Wayne, plus a previously un-released Bill Monroe number (Pilgrim’s Knob), a cover from bop jazzer Charlie Parker (Now’s The Time), a mando-centric arrangement of Bill Emerson’s banjo classic, Sweet Dixie, and a version of a Tommy Jackson classic (Crazy Creek). The rest are Bibey and/or Benson originals. Bibey wrote a tune for the album, Pamela’s Waltz, Benson contributed Wintergrass and Wilkes County Breakdown, and together they wrote Owensboro Train, Black Friday, and Surfside.
Alan tells us that he also has a connection to Another Night, as it was written by his cousin Gary Brown, who lives near his home in South Carolina, and has played the Carolina Opry for the past 30 years.
Five tracks are performed as mandolin duets, and twin mandolin harmony is included on every tune. Both Alan and Wayne spent a lot of time arranging for two mandolins, but they tracked almost all of their parts live in the studio. The duets were recorded in Bibey’s South Carolina studio, and the band cuts at Eastwood Studio in Cana, VA.
Pre-orders are enabled now at the Pinecastle site.
This sounds like one that mandolin lovers will be awaiting with pairs of baited breaths.