Have you heard Della Mae? This five-female bluegrass powerhouse was recently nominated for IBMA’s Emerging Artist of the Year Award, and has been making waves on the festival circuit throughout the country. And the Belles of Bluegrass are about to take their sound to a [much] wider audience as they head to Central Asia for a US State Department musical diplomacy tour next month.
Fiddler Kimber Ludiker, a multiple Grand National Fiddle Champion winner in her own right, tells us in her own words about their impending trip, and what songs she’ll be listening to during her travels…
‘While putting together this mix tape, I thought I’d approach it as ‘what music will I take with me to Central Asia for 42 days when I won’t have streaming capabilities or YouTube?’ My band, Della Mae, is flying to Pakistan on Nov. 6th for a musical diplomacy tour with the US State Department. The program is called American Music Abroad. If you play music, I’d highly recommend (preemptively) applying for one of these trips. We will travel to Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan to give free concerts, work with children, play for diplomats and government officials, and collaborate with local musicians. And you can follow our trip blog exclusively with The Bluegrass Situation!
Here’s what’s at the top of my playlist for the trip:
ARTIST: Rose Cousins
TRACK: The Darkness
‘Rose Cousins is one of my very favorite people. Her songwriting is excellent. She’s Canadian. She’s magnetizing. She’s great. She just released a new album called We Have Made a Spark. It’s packed with talented musicians and original material. Hard to pick a track… the whole album will be going with me on this State Department trip.
ARTIST: Dr. Dog
TRACK: Shadow People
‘My awareness of Dr. Dog began when one of the guys offered to carry Courtney’s banjo onto the plane so she didn’t have to check her guitar. Beyond being incredibly nice individuals, I love what these guys are doing. Their music is so vibey, they put on amazing live shows, and they have killer music videos.’
ARTIST: Lake Street Dive
TRACK: I Want You Back
‘The first time I heard Rachael Price sing, my entire life changed. If this band isn’t on your radar, get it on there. Mike #1 (Calabrese) is a really creative drummer, Mike #2 (Olson) is a great electric player and has a really fun approach to the trumpet, and Bridget Kearny is one of the best bass players I’ve heard. Ever. And they ALL write songs. I used to see Lake Street Dive as much as possible when they were a Boston-based band. Now they are in Brooklyn. Go see them right away. They just put out an EP of covers called Fun Machine that will leave you smiling. Also, in this video, Bridget’s denim onesie should not go unnoticed.’
ARTIST: Tony Rice
TRACK: Cold on the Shoulder
‘This recording is my favorite performance of Cold on the Shoulder. Vassar Clements is playing fiddle. He’s my hero and biggest inspiration. The combination of Tony Rice, Vassar, John Hartford, and Jerry Douglas is the greatest. Big thanks to Jason Carter for sending these my way.’
ARTIST: Cahalen Morrison & Eli West
TRACK: Our Lady of the Tall Trees
‘These guys are phenomenal. Our Lady of the Tall Trees is my favorite album right now by far. The music is so accessible and beautiful. They are the best of what’s out there right now.’
TRACK: Came Out of a Lady
‘I LOVE this song by Rubblebucket. There’s no explanation besides that I love the groove, the title, and the mood it puts me in.’