Rudi Ekstein photo by Sandlin Gaither
Rudi Ekstein has a spent his entire career in bluegrass music, most of it on the “other side” of the microphone. A fine mandolinist, as evidenced by his new album, Carolina Chimes, much of his work has been as a studio engineer and producer at his Foxfire Recording in Asheville, NC. There, and in various other studios in California before moving east to the Appalachian region a dozen years ago, he recorded and preformed on a number of the iconic Pickin’ On series records that feature bluegrass arrangements of music from popular rock and country artists.
He also produced or engineered multiple projects from prominent west coast grassers like Richard Greene, Laurel County Ramblers, and Chris Hillman. The son of Austrian immigrants came to North Carolina at the behest of his long time friend, Billy Constable, who died from cancer in 2015. Carolina Chimes is dedicated to Billy’s memory, and all the music they played together over the years.
A debut single from the new album releases this week, and we are pleased to offer a track premiere here at Bluegrass Today a few days in advance. Rudi says that the tune was inspired by a wild ride he took with his family some years ago.
“When I lived in California banjo player Patrick Sauber and I played in a band together that featured my tune Spikebuck as a set closure at many bluegrass festivals and concerts. When I play Spikebuck, I am always reminded of an exciting whitewater rafting trip in Colorado with my wife, Laurie, and daughter, Jessy. The Spikebuck Rapids were rough and rocky when our raft tipped over, tossing everyone into the Arkansas River. That day I finally found the name for my wild ride of a tune, in Colorado.”
Assisting Ekstein on the track are Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Jeff Autry on guitar, John Plotnik on reso-guitar, Patrick Sauber on banjo, and Mark Schatz on bass.
Spikebuck releases as a single this Friday, September 7. Pre-orders for Carolina Chimes go live that day, with the single as an immediate download gratis track with album pre-orders. Look for it where you purchase downloads online.