Laura’s Tune from Ben Krakauer

Ben Krakauer is a banjo player and composer, and an Assistant Professor of Music at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. His academic specialty is in ethnomusicologist, and he holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Like many bluegrass musicians who have studied music at the college level, Ben’s interests run from traditional mountain music, through bluegrass, and on to jazz and new acoustic styles. At Warren Wilson he teaches in the music department and serves as the Traditional Music Program Coordinator.

With a new album, Hidden Animals, due for release later this month, Ben has agreed to share a track with our readers today, a single from the album called Laura’s Tune. It’s a banjo instrumental, but not a bluegrass tune. Instead its a lilting and highly melodic number that could easily work as a song with lyrics.

Assisting Krakauer are Duncan Wickel on fiddle and cello, Ella Jordan on fiddle, Dan Klingsberg on bass, and Nick Falk on drums. They give this one more of a string quartet than a band feel.

Ben tells us a bit more about the tune…

“Laura’s Tune is dedicated to my wonderful partner of thirteen years, who in addition to many other things gives insightful and constructive feedback on my music. She and I both love Joe K. Walsh’s lyrical and spacious tunewriting, and this tune is inspired by that approach.

My favorite part of this recording is the responsive interplay that comes from the musicians listening closely and interacting with each other’s lines. This especially comes through during Dan Klingsberg’s terrific bass solo, with the other instruments weaving through the pauses in his phrases. We stay close to the melody in this performance, collectively ebbing and flowing in a way that I associate with West Coast fiddle camps, and Darol Anger’s ensemble orientation and groove-based legacy.”

It’s a lovely tune. Have a listen…

Laura’s Tune can be purchased now as a single via bandcamp, where pre-orders for the full Hidden Animals project can also be found.

Krakauer’s new album releases March 22 on Adhyâropa Records.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.