I have discovered the Stoneman Family some time ago. I was immedately thrilled by the performance of the group, especially by Donna Stoneman on the mandolin. I have learned that Roni Stoneman is considered “The First Lady Of Banjo”.
You can see Donna Stoneman and her mandolin in the following video:
Donna is moving all the time, dancing, jumping and at the same time plays great and energetic mandolin music. And the performances by the Stoneman Family are almost always very funny.
You can learn about the biography of the Stoneman Family in the following video:
Stoneman Family Bio
The Stoneman Family – Goin Up Cripple Creek
That’s one of the signiture pieces by the Stoneman Family:
Under the Double Eagle (German: Unter dem Doppeladler) is a military march composed by Josef Franz Wagner during the last decades of the 19th century (probably around 1880). I have found a recording that was made on an Edison cylinder in 1899 on the archive.org site (see below).
Some years later around 1908 the famous Sousa Band of John Philip Sousa has made a recording of Under the Double Eagle on a 78 record. So this march became very popular in the USA, and today many people think that it has been composes by Sousa and not by the Austrian Josef Franz Wagner.
Zefren Presents the 1908 Under the Double Eagle with the Sousa Band
Im beginning to fancy the older records I come across. It is a known fact that John Phillip Sousa refused ever to conduct his band for a recording. His reasons may not be clear but I think there is one reason he may refused, and that is pride. When I recorded this recorded at 74 RPMs the recording time was about 2 minutes and 40 seconds. The playback was like the rushed almost impossible to play piece and Im using my experience playing in a brass band. I slowed the playback until I felt satisfied which was around 62 RPMs! If I was a conductor and recorded a piece at my satisfaction and then heard it played backed at a frantic pace I would probably not want my name to be sullied by the recording medium too. Victor would have had its customers play the record back at 78 RPMs. So even though Sousa wasnt there to conduct the spirit of his band lives on in this 1908 recording that was finally released by Victor in 1911.
You can find more historical recordings of Under the Double Eagle as youtube videos – I have added some of those to my playlist at the end.
Although this march was intended for a typical marching band it does also sound very nice if played with mandolins and guitars. I like the following recording by the french mandolin ensemble Ensemble a Plectre de Stiring-Wendel very much.
Sous l’aigle double
Marche composée par J.F. Wagner et arrangée par Ch. Feret. Interprétée par l’ensemble à plectres de Stiring-Wendel.
The melody of the second and third part of Under the Double Eagle can also be played very well on the guitar. I guess that recordings by Chet Atkins and Roy Clark have made this march popular for Country and Bluegrass music in the USA. Today it is played on all kind of instruments, including guitar, mandolin, banjo, accordion, hammered dulcimer and piano.
I have found many interesting videos and collected those in my playlist. My favorite mandolin version is played by Donna Stoneman:
Recently I have listened to a Country radio show by Bob Harris from the BBC. The second song of this show was the song Wasting my Time by Zoe Muth, a nice song which also includes a great mandolin part. This song is also available on Zoe Muth’s myspace page (see below).
In the meantime I have listened to some youtube videos, I have visited Zoe Muth’s myspace page and searched for more information. Zoe Muth was born in Seattle and grew up there. She grep up with the music by the Beatles, Buddy Holly, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and with MTV. But now she writes and sings songs in the typical Country style. On her homepage you can read about “The Story so Far”:
Growing up we were raised on the classic rock and roll, the Beatles, Buddy Holly, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, when mtv was actually music television.
Somehow, the country sound just lends itself to the way I feel, and the stories I want to tell.
“How does a kid growing up in Seattle in the 1980’s end up making country music?”
I get asked all the time. I usually say, “I don’t know, I just open my mouth when I sing and that’s what comes out.”
In her band Lost High Rollers she sings and plays the guitar, Ethan Lawton plays mandolin, Dave Harmonson steel-guitar or electric guitar and Greg Nies plays on drums.
This is the song The Running Kid in the album version with pictures of Zoe Muth and the band:
Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers
The Running Kind (album version)
This is a live video with Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers made this summer:
Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers
Friday, July 2, 2010, Columbia City Theater – Grand Re-Opening
If you like to listen to good Country songs I can recommend the music of Zoe Muth very well! You best listen to the songs from her myspace site first: http://www.myspace.com/zoemuth
Ethan Lawton – Mandolin
The mandolin player of the Lost High Ropllers is Ethan Lawton, I have also found some videos with the Bluegrass / Gospel Trio Armstrong Lawton Katz, with Ethan Lawton on mandolin, her is one example:
Seattle’s acoustic trio, Armstrong Lawton Katz, perform the bluegrass gospel “Brighter Mansion Over There”, live at Seattle Folklore Society concert at Phinney Neighborhood Center, in Seattle, WA, 10/2/2010. www.cortarmstrongmusic.com.
I bought her EP, intrigued with her easygoing, ’70s-sounding, steel-guitar-laced tunes. After the show I asked her, as a fan more than as a reporter, to please keep me posted on the progress of her first full-length album. Lo and behold, it arrived last week, and I’ve listened to it almost every day since then, never skipping over a track. If your own favorite country singers came from the vinyl era, don’t let this one pass you by. (You can hear some of the tunes on her MySpace page.)
For five years, Muth has been performing original country songs not just in Ballard, but all over the city. She sings in a lilting drawl that smacks of a young Emmylou Harris, though as a high-school kid teaching herself guitar, she says she attempted to emulate artists like Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie.
Emily Robison and Martie Maguire from the Dixie Chicks have just releases their first Album. The Swiss radio DRS has produced a radio show with many songs of the Dixie Chicks which is available as podcast for the next three weeks at:
Emily Robison and Martie Maguire from the Dixie Chicks will be releasing new music this spring under the name Court Yard Hounds. Check out the video to hear Martie and Emily talk about the new project and the creative forces behind it.