I have been playing in a quasi-imaginary bluegrass band called Barnstar! for three years now, featuring Zack Hickman (upright bass), Charlie Rose (banjo), Jake Amerding (fiddle) and his father Taylor Amerding (mandolin). Everyone in the band is so busy that we only do two or three gigs per year, usually in noisy bars, where we can't really judge if we sound good enough to have as much fun as do. Despite the infrequency of our appearances, we were recently awarded an Iguana Fund Grant from Club Passim (Cambridge MA) to document what had been, until now, merely a series of fleeting, ephemeral music moments in local bars.
It is with great pride that I can announce "C'mon!," the debut record from Barnstar! The harvest is in, the fruit is ready to be picked and it is sweet and juicy. Sure, the elements are familiar, mandolins, banjos, and soaring four or five-part harmonies, but this ain't your daddy's bluegrass (though I guess in the case of Jake Armerding it is...his dad is in the band). But this record owes as much to the spirit of The Traveling Wilburys as it does to The Louvin Brothers. Featuring songs by Neil Young ("Cowgirl In The Sand"), Paul Simon ("Boy In The Bubble"), and Dawes ("When My Time Comes") alongside re-worked tunes of mine ("Troubadour Blues," "Take My Ashes To The River"), as well as a never-before-recorded original ("Charlottesville"), "C'mon!" is a bold and energetic snapshot of a scrappy, vibrant bluegrass band.
Jake Armerding – fiddle, vocals,
Taylor “Old Train” Armerding – mandolin, vocals
Mark Erelli – guitar, vocals
Zachariah Hickman – double bass, vocals
Charlie Rose – banjo, vocals