The album, Southern Filibuster: A Tribute To Tut Taylor, is the brainchild of celebrated resonator guitarist Jerry Douglas, who produced and recorded this project as a surprise to Taylor, one of the early innovators of the instrument in bluegrass and acoustic country music. Douglas assembled 14 of the top reso players on the scene and knocked this out before word could sneak out.
Tut Taylor has been an active musician since the 1960s, reaching some notoriety with John Hartford as a part of his Areo-Plain Band along with Norman Blake. His reso style was unique in that he played with a flatpick, unlike the more common fingstyle approach. Tut has since been known as an instrument dealer and craftsman as well, having been instrumental in the development of the Tut Taylor model reso guitars built by Crafters Of Tennessee.
Phil Leadbetter, who performs his version of Acoustic Toothpick on the CD, tells us how the project came to be.
“Jerry talked to a bunch of us at IBMA last year about this. The plan was to secretly go in and cut this without Tut’s knowledge, each of us tracking a Tut tune of our choosing. Tut has some pretty major medical bills, so all the players did this as volunteers, with proceeds to go to Tut.
The tracking was done at Bil Vorndik’s in November, 2009.”
You won’t likely be surprised to note that Douglas put together some crackerjack sideman to assist in the studio. On the various tracks, Barry Bales, Dennis Crouch and Mike Bub were on bass; Fred Carpenter and Jason Carter on fiddle; Ronnie McCoury, Mike Compton and Tim O’Brien on mandolin; and Russ Barenberg, David Grier and Bryan Sutton on guitar.
Mike Auldridge was also among the featured players, and tells us that he was delighted for the chance.
“I was really happy to have the chance to re-record Tut’s song This Ain’t Grass on the Southern Filibuster project. I chose this particular song because I had originally recorded it on my Blues and Bluegrass album in 1973. I had changed the arrangement a little bit, so it was fun to get a chance to record it again, using Tut’s original arrangement and my arrangement together, and to be backed by some of the finest musicians Nashville has to offer.
I first heard the song when I was driving a parts truck for a local Chevrolet dealer when I was in college. Before the song was finished playing on the truck radio that day, I knew I wanted to record it someday. To be able to record it twice was even better!”
Here is a breakdown of the tracks, with the artist featured on each:
Southern Filibuster: A Tribute To Tut Taylor is available from a wide variety on online resellers of acoustic and bluegrass music. Audio samples are available at amazon.com.
UPDATE 7/14: Andy Hall also shared a few words about his participation…
“Being involved with this project was huge for me. When you get a call from Jerry Douglas asking if you want to be a part of a musical project, well…need I say more? One of the first bluegrass records I ever had was Back Home In Sulfer Springs by Norman Blake. I loved Tut’s playing on that. It had such a familiar sound to me, even hearing it the first time.
That whole crew, Norman Blake, John Hartford, Tut Taylor, Vassar, all had a big impact on me. The song I recorded is called Resophonic Guitar. Tut played it solo on the original, but I thought it would sound cool with a full band. It think it came out nice and gritty.”