May. Grey clouds and a hard wind. The coldest Spring for over 50 years. Driving down the A3 to Kipper’s Barn. New strings on the banjo, Patty Griffin on the system. Drums and bass laid down at Terl’s yesterday, we’re en route to Kipper’s to record banjo, guitar, bouzouki and vocals. Nick is ‘flying’ his keyboard parts in from Bounds Green (can’t wait to hear that cool organ vamp we rehearsed at Rob and Joy’s). First up is the banjo, the open-backed, long-neck variety, developed by Pete Seeger and purchased from banjo guru Andy Perkins (www.andybanjo.com). Typically used in American old-time music, the banjo occupied a central place in African-American traditional music, before becoming popular in the minstrel shows of the 19th century… after one of Brad’s special lunches: soup, bread, ham, cheese, pickle, flapjacks and tea, banjo and bouzouki parts worked up and laid down, Simon’s heading west on the lap steel. Wild horses can’t hold him back. Further down the highway, Sadie shimmies into the booth and makes the songs her own. Rattlesnakes and lone riders, pretty choristers and lonesome train whistles. Sadie’s world. From the streets of New York City to the Mojave desert.

Steve

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