Since 2011 Portland, Oregon-based Ear Trumpet Labs has been blessing the music world with their finely crafted microphones, with their clean, natural sound and designs reminiscent of the styles of the 1930s and 40s. And for the past three years, they’ve been gifting us listeners with beautiful examples of their high quality equipment through their Workshop Sessions, pairing exquisite videography with master musicianship. We’re looking back at some of our favorites from 2019 as we move into the new year, when BGS + ETL will be partnering to bring you more content live at Ear Trumpet Labs!
Jerry Douglas & Tommy Emmanuel – “Choctaw Hayride”
We’re not alone in our love for this session: it was one of our BGS readers’ favorite stories of the year. But really how could it not be? It doesn’t get much better than two masters of their crafts getting together in a workshop and just letting it rip.
Both are using Edwina microphones, and there’s also a stereo pair of Delphinas as room mics.
The Local Honeys – “The Redhead Yodel no. 1 [Mainliner]”
In their unfortunately rare ode to the female traveller amidst a plethora of hobo songs in American folk music, the Local Honeys bring us what they call “a lovey-dovey, yodelly-wodelly one.” Is there anything better than a yodelly-wodelly love song from the perspective of a female hobo? No. Is there anything better than the Local Honeys? No.
Anthony D’Amato – “Party’s Over”
Anyone else still recovering from all those holiday parties?
Anna Tivel – “Minneapolis”
Once the holiday cheer has passed, this time of year can be heavy. Tivel tells BGS this song is about “that stagnant winter sadness that can take over everything until you have to physically move yourself to shake it loose.” This stirring string arrangement may envelop you in those depths of winter, but it just might give you the hope to get yourself un-stuck.
Rachel Sermanni – “Farewell, Farewell”
Scottish folk musician Sermanni’s gentle delivery and sparse accompaniment of this Richard Thompson tune draws out the influence of the British folk ballad even more than the original Fairport Convention release in the late ‘60s. We dare you to not be completely drawn in by this breathtaking rendition.
Jefferson Hamer – “Alameda”
Hamer’s 2018 release Alameda is a collection of “road stories,” its stunning title track a tale of a traveling worker and a lost love.
The Brother Brothers – “Angel Island”
Adam and David Moss’s arrangement of this devastating Peter Rowan-penned story of a Chinese immigrant couple separated and detained at San Francisco’s Angel Island, a regrettably common occurrence during the years of the immigration station’s operation from 1910-1940, is almost unbearably haunting, and for good reason. This is a story that we as a culture shouldn’t soon forget.
Claire Hitchins – Emma
Aside from the beautiful lyrics painting the picture of our leading lady, and the easy, light vocal delivery, the look of pure peace on Hitchins’ face might just be the cherry on top of this session. “We’ll rise with love, my love, I believe we are worthy.”
Greg Blake – “Say Won’t You Be Mine”
Greg Blake brings some bluegrass from Colorado to the Ear Trumpet Labs with this Stanley Brothers classic.
The Lasses & Kathryn Claire – “Here Now”
Amsterdam folk duo The Lasses team up with Portland singer-songwriter Kathryn Claire to create this captivating session featuring violin, guitar, bodhrán, and trio vocals that could warm any lonely heart this cold winter.
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