Editors Note: We’re pleased to present this exclusive video from our friends at Ear Trumpet Labs in Portland, Oregon. Special thanks to banjo historian Bill Evans for providing insight into this special project in his letter below.
I had left home early that morning and driven 621 miles from my home in the San Francisco Bay area to Ear Trumpet Labs, arriving on a rainy January night in Portland, Oregon, with nine banjos in tow. I was truly excited to be in the room where these great microphones are made and to meet the ETL family. There’s a powerful positive energy to the large room where everything Ear Trumpet happens. It’s obvious that this enterprise is a labor of love and I was humbled to think of the many great musicians who had traveled farther than I had to be in this same space.
I dried off from the rain, pulled the banjos out of their cases, tuned them up the best that I could, and we started rolling. Banjo notes from metal and gut strings bounced off the walls, played on banjos representing 170 years of musical traditions from builders named Gibson, Cole, Vega-Fairbanks, Hartel, Cammeyer and more. Like these microphones, these instruments were all creations made by fine craftsmen who were dedicated to their craft and loved their work. It is an honor to bring music to life through them.
I hope you enjoy these quick snapshots of a show that I call “The Banjo in America.” If you’d like to see and hear more, Tiki Parlour Recordings is releasing this spring a DVD/CD set featuring 19 songs and medleys played on 10 different banjos. Thank you, Ear Trumpet Labs and the Bluegrass Situation, for helping to keep the music flowing for all of us. I’m truly honored to be able to share this music with you.
All the best,