BANJO MAN FRANK CASSEL, AMERICAN ACOUSTIC
Local Washington, D.C., area picker Frank Cassel has gathered together an ensemble of musicians, including the late Mike Auldridge, for this showcase of original tunes featuring the banjo. Helping out on the project is Dede Wyland (who also helped produce), Tad Marks (fiddle), Tara Linhardt (mandolin), Bill Starks (piano), Seth Kibel (clarinet), Chris Mauro (percussion), Geff King (bass), Larry Tapper (harmonica), Gantt Kushner (guitar), and Ira Gitlin (bass).
Six of the ten selections are by Cassel and include “Sugarloaf Mountain,” “Red Hot Mandolin Mama,” “Song For Emily,” and the “Keep Me Up On MySpace When I’m Gone.” Also included are Tara Linhart’s “Spider’s Run,” Geff King’s “Bluegrass Music Has Ruined My Life,” and Bach’s “Minuet In G” with Zoe Kurtz on violin. The project closes with Albert Brumley’s gospel classic “I’ll Fly Away.” Cassel is a very good banjo player and the accompaniment and arrangements really give these songs strong support. Marks and Linhardt provide the counterbalance to Cassel’s banjo, especially on Linhardt’s “Spider’s Run” and Cassel’s own “Shannon D.” This is a good project worth considering. (Frank Cassel, P.O. Box 303, Kensington, MD 20895, www.banjomanfc.com.)BF