Track Premiere: Soldier’s Joy from Grant and Kessinger

Tell me if you’ve heard this one… A couple of flat pickers get together to pick a few fiddle tunes and sing some songs.

Doesn’t really sound like big news, does it? I mean, what else would a couple of old guitar slinger pals do when they meet? But when they are a pair of champions like Tyler Grant and Robin Kessinger, it’s sure to be something worthy of repeated listening.

And that’s what you have with Kanawah County Flatpicking, a new set of duets from Tyler and Robin, guitarists separated by tim.e and place, but united in their love for the West Virginia mountain music that has been synonymous with the Kessinger name for generations. The two met at the prestigious Walnut Valley competition in Winfield, Kansas when Tyler was competing and Robin was a judge. They became fast friends, these two three-time winners of the National Flat Pick Guitar Championship, and formed a lasting bond

The flatpickers met up in a studio near Point Pleasant, WV earlier this month for two days of recording, and ended up with 15 tracks of pure old time, six string magic.

On this track, the venerable Soldier’s Joy, the guys trade licks, twin a bit, and generally enjoy the camaraderie that occurs when two artists really enjoy each other’s musical company.

Tyler says it’s exactly what he had in mind for this project.

“Soldier’s Joy is a traditional Appalachian fiddle tune that flatpicking guitarists love to play. Robin and I first worked up this twin guitar arrangement for a performance at Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp in Maryville, TN a few years back. It was this type of duet playing that inspired the Kanawha County Flatpicking project. From this meeting point, Robin and I branched out and dug into some rare Kessinger family material.”

Kanawha County Flatpicking releases tomorrow, August 24, and will be available for download or streaming wherever you find your favorite music.

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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.