Fresh Talent and Local NC Musicians Collaborate on Fine Tuned: Volume One
Journey into the uplifting and soulful world of Appalachian, bluegrass, and traditional music with the new music release of Fine Tuned: Volume One. Available as a vinyl LP (CD forthcoming), the album is the result of the Blue Ridge Music Trails initiative, Fine Tuned. Featuring ten tracks from emerging musicians and seasoned artists, the album continues the sacred musical tradition of collaboration and mentorship by connecting seasoned musicians with a select group of emerging artists in Western North Carolina to create fresh and unique sounds.
Fine Tuned: Volume One / Album Tracks
- Whetstone (Benjamin Barker and David LaMotte); Benjamin Barker and David LaMotte
- The Work of Light (David LaMotte); David LaMotte and Benjamin Barker
- Reuben’s Train (Traditional); Bayla Davis and Cary Fridley
- Rank Strangers (Alfred Brumley); Bayla Davis and Cary Fridley
- Three Demons (Keaw’e Bone); Keaw’e Bone and Jarrett Wildcat
- In the Pines (Traditional); Donna Ray Norton and Josh Goforth
- Big Sciota (Traditional); Josh Jones and Sav Sankaran
- When I Stop Dreaming (Charles Louvin, Ira Louvin); Josh Jones and Sav Sankaran
- Lord, I Need Your Help (Mitchell Lee Fonville, JR.); The Allen Boys, Kelley Breiding, and DaShawn Hickman
- Walking in Jerusalem (Traditional); The Allen Boys, Kelley Breiding, and DaShawn Hickman
*Album cover designed by Kristen Necessary of Starfangled Press.
Fine Tuned: Volume One / Album Participants
Benjamin Barker and David LaMotte
Benjamin Barker won the 2021 National Hammered Dulcimer contest at the Winfield Valley Festival. David LaMotte is a singer-songwriter, speaker, and author. Together, they composed “Whetstone” in memory of David’s father-in-law, Phillip Lemond, and Benjamin added his touch to David’s original song “The Work of Light.”
Bayla Davis and Cary Fridley
Bayla Davis has established herself as an impressive banjo player and an excellent vocalist. Cary Fridley is known for her musical versatility and warm vocal style. These two blended their skills on a fiery version of “Reuben’s Train” and brought in Marlee Merritt to add a third harmony singer on “Rank Strangers.”
Keaw’e Bone and Jarrett Wildcatt
Both Keaw’e Bone and Jarrett Wildcatt are steeped in Cherokee musical traditions. For this project, however, they chose to work together on composing and arranging new, original music as an expression of their experiences and their art. “Three Demons” is the product of their partnership.
Donna Ray Norton with Josh Goforth
Donna Ray Norton and Josh Goforth served as the prototype for Fine Tuned. An eighth-generation ballad singer, Donna Ray was initially intimidated when Josh, who was producing her latest album, asked if she wanted to sing a track with accompaniment. “In the Pines” is the result of this leap.
Josh Jones and Sav Sankaran
Josh Jones refined his fiddle and mandolin skills as part of the Junior Appalachian Musicians program and has continued his development with classical vocal studies at the collegiate level. Sav Sankaran shares this classical vocal background as well as love for traditional bluegrass. These shared foundations produced Josh and Sav’s versions of “Big Sciota” and “When I Stop Dreaming.”
The Allen Boys with DaShawn Hickman and Kelley Breiding
The Allen Boys carry the banner for the Sacred Steel gospel tradition in Western NC. DaShawn Hickman takes this tradition to new limits with his lap steel guitar explorations. Kelley Breiding shares her passion for old time, country, and Western Swing music in multiple bands and formats. Multiple Surry County traditions came together as this ensemble recorded the original “Lord, I Need Your Help” and the traditional “Walking in Jerusalem.”
Carrying Music Traditions into The Future
Fine Tuned not only benefits this generation of musical talent, but it also paves the way for future musicians who will keep the musical traditions of Western North Carolina alive. Sav Sankaran, a vocalist and bass player for bluegrass band Unspoken Tradition and Fine Tuned mentor, shared his thoughts:
“One of the hallmarks of traditional Appalachian music particularly is this idea of it being an oral tradition passed from one generation to the next. So in some ways, this is a 21st century version of that. To be able to import some of the knowledge that I’ve gained and some of the experience I’ve gained as a professional musician to someone who’s just starting out is a really worthwhile experience for me. So maybe I can make that…pathway a little bit easier, more equitable, more accessible for other people to get involved. Because unless you create that pathway, the music doesn’t continue.”
Show Your Support–Donate Now
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