The Donkeys, from Ivan Rosenberg and Billy Cardine, may not be the only dobro CD to open with a banjo duet, but it’s the first one I’ve found to do so.
OK… so it’s not really a dobro CD, but both Rosenberg and Cardine are known primarily for their work as resophonic guitarists, and my expectations suggested that slide work would be the focus. In truth, what the pair really dedicate this new collaboration project to is melodies, and new ways of incorporating reso guitars into interpreting them.
The pairing is both stylistically and geographically interesting, as Rosenberg is a California-based musician whose compositions have been used in a number of television and movie soundtracks, and Cardine lives in North Carolina and performs with The Biscuit Burners, an eclectic string band who describe themselves as playing “fiery mountain music.”
The music, most of which is written by the dobro duo themselves, is performed primarily with members of the resophonic family of guitars, with several tunes featuring twin dobros. Both Cardine and Rosenberg are fine banjoists as well, and they add a few tastes of the old five throughout, with Billy playing 3 finger style, and Ivan clawhammer.
Two tracks are vocal features, with Mary Lucey and Sharon Whitworth doing the honors. The Donkeys even offers a few using the dobro and banjo stating and reworking the melody together, a pairing that has always appealed very strongly to me. Dan Bletz also guests on guitar, and Darrell Muller on bass.
The interesting title of this CD comes from the fact that three of the tunes, The Creptid Donkey, The Donkeys Of Harmison Crevice and Farewell Little Donkey, pay musical homage to the beloved Equus asinus. You can find a few audio samples on either Ivan’s or Billy’s MySpace pages, and orders can be placed online.
On a final pair of Rosenberg/Cardine related notes…
Look for The Bisciut Burners on The History Channel this Friday, August 24. They will be featured on Our Generation, which airs at 6:30 p.m. (ET) with music from their Bonaroo set this past June, as well as discussion with the band.
Rosenberg will be touring in Canada this fall as a part of the New Voices In Slide Guitar show with Doug Cox and Steve Dawson.