BRIAN GODCHAUX & SANDY ROTHMAN
Tone Bar Records
From time to time, we’re treated to a recording of banjo/fiddle duets. For folks who play these instruments, these recordings hold a special interest. The interplay of this format goes all the way back to the mountains. For most bluegrass fans of a certain age or experience level, the standard for this format are with those fine duets between Earl Scruggs and Paul Warren. Here, two long-time friends, Godchaux on fiddle and Rothman, who plays his solid brand of Scruggs banjo, explore a baker’s dozen of tunes at a level of inventiveness that has not been heard since John Hartford and Bob Carlin explored the riches of this format on The Fun Of Open Discussion.
Not content to just play the tunes, this duo often explores the tunes for more than five minutes, dismantling and reassembling them harmonically and melodically drawing new ideas and sounds from each piece. The name for this project is taken, interestingly, from Rothman’s banjo, a silver-plated prototype Gold Star. The Red Fiddle is not really red, but that’s the name it’s been given. These two instruments sound great together as they explore the nuances of some real fun tunes such as “Turkey Buzzard,” “Leather Britches,” “Sail Away Ladies,” and a splendid “Daley’s Reel.” These two musicians exchange musical ideas with great empathy and skill. This is another fine example of what fun a banjo and fiddle can have without all of those other instruments and singers. (redfiddlesilverbanjo.weebly.com)RCB