The acoustic power trio of mandolinist John Reischman, guitarist Scott Nygaard, and bassist/mandolinist Sharon Gilchrist blends traditional bluegrass and folk styles with their own personalized visions of contemporary acoustic music, reshaping old melodies and composing new music based on traditional forms with an improvisatory flair and melodic richness. Reischman and Nygaard, both Grammy winners revered in the acoustic world for their melodic virtuosity and impeccable tone, have been performing together off and on since the early ‘90s, when they played on each others’ solo recording debuts for Rounder Records. They are joined by Gilchrist, whose mandolin and bass playing have been in high demand for years, gracing the bands of acoustic and bluegrass icons Darol Anger, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Laurie Lewis, and others. Reischman’s most recent album, Walk Along John,was described by Bluegrass Today as combining “blazing bluegrass, stately old time melodies, and even reckless, seat-of-the-pants improvgrass,” a fitting description of what you can expect to hear from these three empathetic musicians.
Watch a video performance of John, Scott, and Sharon from a gig at Empty Sea Studios in Seattle on the Roots Channel.
The trio has recently released an album, The Harmonic Tone Revealers, about which Scott says:
In our past recordings together, including each of our debut recordings, John and I have tended to focus on our own instrumental compositions, but with this trio recording with Sharon, we’ve chosen traditional and “sounds like traditional” tunes that sound at home on our instruments and under our fingers. That they also come from or are associated with many of our greatest musical heroes—Bill Monroe, Clarence and Roland White, Kenny Baker, Doc Watson, and a bevy of great fiddlers—is probably not accidental. We didn’t set out to record a tribute to all these fine folks, but it looks like we have, most likely because it’s impossible for us to escape their influence. The focus of this recording became clearer when we ventured into the wondrous Sage Arts studio in Arlington, Washington, thanks to the generosity of Ed Littlefield, Erick Jaskowiak, and Fred Forssell. The sound of us sitting in a circle around a small forest of mics and simply playing tunes in this wonderful sounding room, shepherded by Erick’s engineering genius, inspired us to keep it simple, an aural document of a fortuitous meeting: a couple of days in November 2015 and a couple more in April 2016.
The Harmonic Tone Revealers track list:
- Half Past Four Traditional, from Ed Haley
- Cousin Sally Brown Traditional, from Marcus Martin
- Midnight on the Water Luke Thomasson
- My Father’s Footsteps Bill Monroe
- I Am a Pilgrim Traditional, with a nod to Clarence and Roland White
- The Girl Who Broke My Heart Traditional Irish, from Kevin Burke
- Little Sadie Traditional, thanks to Doc Watson
- The Road to Malvern Jim Childress
- Queen of the Earth, Child of the Stars Traditional, from Edden Hammonds
- Sail Away Ladies Traditional, from Kenny Baker
- Little Liza Jane Traditional, from JP Fraley
- My True Love Away Traditional, from Eliza Carthy and Kate Rusby