Any time you might be given to despair about the future of bluegrass music, just cast a glance at the catalog of Patuxent Music in Maryland. Label head Tom Mindte specializes in finding young artists with something interesting to say in their bluegrass, old time, and acoustic music. There can be no doubt we have capable hands to carry this sound forward.
The latest is 15 year old banjo picker and singer Eddie Ray Buzzini of North Carolina, whose mixed ancestry – a Swiss/Italian dad and an east Tennessee mom – create a nice mix of European and Appalachian mountain culture. His given name is Ettore, and he has taken it as his mission to convince others his age that bluegrass, and particularly banjo music, is cool, up-to-date, and completely legit.
Eddie Ray’s new album on Patuxent is self-titled, called Eddie Ray. It features a mix of standards – Farewell Blues, Bringing in the Georgia Mail, When You And I Were Young Maggie, New Camptown Races, and Daniel Prayed, along with three new songs of his composition, including one, Ragnarok, he wrote at age 11 about the mythical battle between Norse gods Thor and Odin.
As a single, Patuxent has released his grassed-up take on You’re No Good, written by Jesse Fuller and famously recorded by Bob Dylan in 1961. Legend has it that this was the first song Dylan cut at his debut Columbia session, and it makes a mighty fine bluegrass number as well.
Eddie Ray is supported by Danny Knicely on guitar, Marshall Wilborn on bass, Patrick McAvinue on fiddle, and Willie Marschner on mandolin. One presumes that young Mr. Buzzini hasn’t dealt with quite so many woman problems as this song describes, but he delivers it with authority and a voice that shares many of the quirky attributes that set Dylan’s apart.
Have a listen…
You’re No Good, and the full Eddie Ray album, are available now from popular download and streaming services online. Audio CDs can also be ordered online.
Keep an eye on this young banjo picker. You’re likely to hear his name again in the future.