That Evening Sun is a terrific album of delicate banjo music from Thom Moore, which escaped our attention when it was first released in December of last year. Thom had actually sent us a copy, but it never reached our editorial office owing to an address snafu.
We may be a bit late to the game, but wanted to be sure that our readers were aware of this recording, which includes 16 original banjo tunes of Moore’s, performed with sparse accompaniment in the three finger style.
Though he started out picking bluegrass, Thom’s music is more impressionistic, using our familiar 5-string to interpret his compositions in a style that melds influences of Celtic, old time and bluegrass. In fact, I bear some responsibility for his introduction to the banjo, as he took a few lessons from me in the late 1970s when he was just getting started.
But after a brief fling, he set the banjo down for the next 20 years. Coming back to it around the turn of the century, Thom dedicated himself to both learning to play, and creating his own music.
A number of the songs have a bluegrass/fiddle tune vibe, like Little Walker, Hames and Traces and Up to Dreaming Creek, which is a bit more space grassy. The bulk tend towards slower pieces, reminiscent of Celtic airs in many cases.
Thom thanks Tony Ellis ion the liner notes, and his influence is clear to anyone familiar with Tony’s music. I also hear a bit of Joel Mabus, another somewhat iconoclastic banjo player, who excels on guitar and mandolin as well.
Throughout the album Moore is supported by Zan McLeod on guitar, bouzouki and bass, and Matt Combs and Erynn Marshall on fiddle. Ben Sanders and Gary Tussing add cello on a couple of tunes, and Tim Moore supplies percussion on one.
Moore’s contribution is honored this month with a cover feature in Banjo NewsLetter, an interview conducted by Alan Munde.
That Evening Sun is available on CD from County Sales and CD Baby, and for download purchase from the major digital distributors.