Banjo picker Tim Davis and mandolinist Matt Hiser have collaborated on a new album of bluegrass instrumentals called Flying High.
Other than the title cut, written by Hiser, it’s a set of tunes that should be familiar to bluegrass listeners, though not all from the traditional canon. They have solid versions of favorites like Earl Scruggs’ John Henry, Sally Ann, and Pike County Breakdown to Don Reno’s Follow The Leader and Bill Monroe’s Kentucky Mandolin.
They also offer their take on David Grisman’s E.M.D. and Tony Rice’s Manzanita among the 10 tracks, with Wyatt Rice on guitar and Ron Stewart on fiddle. Jonathan Campbell plays bass, and both Kris Davis and Jonathan Buckner add guitar as well.
Flying High was primarily recorded at Tim’s home studio, with Wyatt adding guitar in his studio, and Ron adding fiddle in his. Stewart did the final mixing and mastering.
Tim shared a few words about how this project came to be:
“The band that I played with, Chosen Road, had wanted me to do a CD for some time but I’m not the type of player that really likes to play instrumental numbers on the banjo. I enjoy playing more in the context of a band. So I figured to make things easier on me I would recruit the mando player for us at that time, Matt Hiser. We each picked out about 6 tunes, and picked the 10 strongest ones. Once that was done it came together pretty quick with Ron’s help.”
On the opening track, you can hear Davis paying homage to two of his heroes. He kicks off Groundspeed in a reverential Scruggs style, and follows the fiddle solo with a near-perfect transcription of Scott Vestal’s second break from his debut solo album, In Pursuit Of Happiness. It’s a very demanding solo, and Tim nails it down.
Hiser’s Flying High shows him to be a fine mandolin man in something of an Alan Bibey style, with a knack for a good tune to boot.
Flying High: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/flying_high.mp3]
You can hear audio samples for all the tracks at CD Baby, where you can purchase tracks or the entire album for download.