Rhode Island banjo player Jake Blount has something to say with his upcoming album, Spider Tales, coming from Free Dirt Records on May 29.
It’s part old time music exposition, and partly a result of his research into the contributions of black and indigenous musicians to the Appalachian folk tradition. Blount has a B.A. in Ethnomusicology from Hamilton College, and has dedicated his academic energies as well as his musical ones to bringing this part of the story to the fore.
Accomplished on both banjo and fiddle, Jake demonstrated his bona fides with a win last year at Clifftop playing a trio of tunes from black musicians on banjo.
In advance of the album, we are happy to premiere this track, Blackbird Says To The Crow, a fine old time duet between Jake on banjo with Tatiana Hargreaves on fiddle, and Nic Gareiss on foot percussion.
Jake shared a few words about the tune…
“Blackbird Says to the Crow comes from Cuje Bertram, a black fiddler from Fentress County, Tennessee. Cuje had a smooth bow arm and no fear of left-hand ornamentation; his tunes are, for the most part, sprightly and joyful. Tatiana and I have been playing this tune on banjo and fiddle for a couple years. The set of home recordings we learned it from also features a bones player, so I invited Nic to make it into a trio piece with us. Relearning the role of percussion in a genre that has largely abandoned it has been a rewarding process for me. There’s no better way to explore that potential than as a trio of fiddle, banjo and feet.”
Pre-orders for Spider Tales, which also features appearances by Rachel Eddy and Haselden Ciaccio, are available now online.