Video Premiere: George Jackson, “Town’s End” (feat. Jake Blount)

On October 29, fiddler extraordinaire George Jackson releases his sophomore album Hair & Hide, a tour-de-force exploration of the sounds emanating from the two instruments at the heart of old time music and bluegrass—the fiddle and the banjo. The album’s title refers to the raw materials out of which these sounds issue, and the fourteen tracks on the album—a balance of Jackson originals and traditional tunes—feature the sounds of only the two instruments. He enlists the talents of seven of the finest banjo players of their generation—Jake Blount, Catherine (BB) Bowness, Wes Corbett, Frank Evans, Brad Kolodner, Joe Overton, Uma Peters—to join him on this bracing journey of musical innovation through the sonic landscape of tradition.

Jake Blount joins Jackson for the premiere of the spiraling and swirling minor chord tune “Town’s End.” Jackson opens the tune slowly with his clear, crisp down strokes, laying down the theme that courses through the rest of tune, while Blount’s thrumming, banjo rolls provides the inventive counterpoints that drive the song through moments of melancholy and moments of exhilaration. The unadorned video reveals the joy the two players feel exploring the notes and phrases of this little reel.

As Jackson reflects, “I wrote this tune while spending some time in Port Townsend, WA on tour in 2019. I’d been listening to the classic album from Bob Carlin ‘Bangin’ and Sawin’’ which was definitely one source of inspiration for me in wanting to record some banjo and fiddle music. Judy Hyman is on a bunch of those tracks and I particularly loved the tune she plays ‘Geese Honking’ on that album. I wanted to write something that had that sort of B flat tonality and vibe, my tune turned out more G minor and moody but the setting and that music were some of the swirling inspirations that went into writing this tune and how it came out. I named it after Port Townsend and it’s moody weather vibes. Jake’s playing on this just perfectly adds the modal groovy trance to under pin the tune, I really had him in mind for collaborating on this track since I wrote it and it was a pleasure to work on this one with him!”


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