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Paul Odegaard | Banjo Suite

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Folk: Modern Folk World: World Fusion Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Banjo Suite

by Paul Odegaard

A collection of eerily complex and ethereal banjo instrumentals that blend Celtic/Appalachia and neo-jazz, and feature intricate guitar picking, energetic fiddling, expansive cello and ghostly, sub-verbal vocals.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hammering On Song
2:24 $0.99
2. Birchdale
2:37 $0.99
3. Beverly's Farewell
4:09 $0.99
4. Early Garden
2:32 $0.99
5. Simple Frailty
2:15 $0.99
6. Lost & Found
2:29 $0.99
7. Eric's Gold
2:40 $0.99
8. Boshkung
1:54 $0.99
9. Bekanon
2:38 $0.99
10. A Father's Lament
3:11 $0.99
11. August Love
2:43 $0.99
12. Teeter Totter
1:49 $0.99
13. Haley's Comet
1:35 $0.99
14. Beverly Hills Billy
2:32 $0.99
15. Phoenix
2:24 $0.99
16. Leaving Home
3:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
With his "Banjo Suite", Paul Odegaard brings you a sophisticated and innovative collection of original compositions for the five-string banjo, which takes the instrument to some unexpected places. Along with musical collaborators Beverly Glenn Copeland, Paul Mills, Terry Sefton, April Verch and Trevor Mills, Odegaard has unleashed a powerful brew of distinctive instrumental recordings that will delight the banjo enthusiast and surprise those who have relegated this instrument to the background.

Like many accomplished banjo players, Paul developed an early interest in banjo music and taught himself to play in his teens, influenced by the music of Pete Seeger and Earl Scruggs. By the age of 16, he was playing in a popular S.W.Ontario folk group (The Balladeers) which performed in Michigan and Europe.

Years later, when The Balladeers decided to record a reunion CD, Paul rediscovered his love of banjo music in the form of composition. His three-finger picking style shifted from Bluegrass to something less structured and more playful. Using the clawhammer or frailing technique, he began to incorporate the subtle inflections of unexpected syncopation to make the melodies sparkle. The result is "Banjo Suite", an astonishing exploration of banjo possibilities, a work that brings this instrument right out to centre stage where it belongs.

Paul has demonstrated a refreshing ability to compose freely, letting the banjo speak in its own way.

"These instrumentals represent my emotional response to the particular environment of the moment, the place I'm in or the people Iím with. The banjo itself is a bottomless well of sound possibilities and the compositions seem to emerge when I get out of the way."

The result is a mature and iconoclastic work that weaves together the sounds emerging from Africa, the Middle East and Latin America with traditional banjo threads. Regardless of your tastes or your preconceptions, you're going to find something here that will stir you and leave you waiting for more.

With first listen to Banjo Suite, I am reminded just how diverse this instrument is and how many beautiful voicings and timbres can be coaxed from the five strings and drum head that makes up the common banjo. Paul Odegaard has done just more than given the Banjo a place in the new millennium, he has created an album filled with serene visions of the landscapes around us all and the emotions that come with their discovery.

With the assistance of Long time friend Paul Mills (a.k.a. Curly Boy Stubbs) they have produced an album worthy of much praise and repeated listening. Further assisted by the lovely Beverly Glenn Copeland, Paul and Paul's instrumental arrangements are enhanced by some arresting vocals that act as yet another side instrument and build on the stunning harmonies and fluidly moving melody lines.

On the CD are songs deeply rooted in the bluegrass tradition that the instrument is most famous for, however on standout tracks such as "Eric's Gold", which is more reminiscent of Hungarian Gypsy music, or on "Phoenix"which combines Celtic phrases and an African sounding vocal arrangement; the power and grace of the banjo is enigmatic. Odegaard, best known to me as a fine vocalist (as Heard on "The Balladeers- 'It's about Time' ") has shown himself an equally capable Banjo player, percussionist and composer. This album is worth it's weight in smiles, cheers and accolades and it's timelessness should please listeners of all generations and genres.


Banjo Suite is "a collection of eerily complex and ethereal banjo instrumentals that blend Appalachia and neo-jazz, and feature the intricate guitar picking of producer Paul Mills and the ghostly, sub-verbal vocals of Beverly Glenn Copeland."
Greg Quill - The Toronto Star

 "I loved the album and will air cuts from it again."
Alistair Brown - 'A Sign of the Times' - CIXX-FM - London, Ont. - 106.9 FM

   "We love your CD and will play it again. Itís a wonderful CD and sound that you have."
Peter Togni - 'Weekender' - CBC II - Toronto, Ont. - 100.5 FM

   "'Banjo Suite' is ëBanjo Sweet'! I enjoy the old traditional music in its pure form, but rarely someone comes along like yourself and makes tomorrow's traditional music today."
Dana Ford - KDNK - listener sponsored radio for all the Roaring Fork Valley and Beyond - Colorado  

   "Very nice, Iíve got this built in preconception about the banjo that you've just destroyed with that song (Bekanon). This is very relaxing and tranquil."
Bill Paul - 6X-FM - London, Ont. - 106.9 FM

   "I like your banjo style & your compositions and arrangements -- I like hard-driving bluegrass banjo but it's good to hear someone do something different with the banjo once in a while.î
            Doug Fletcher - bluegrassriver.com

  Paul Odegaard, who attended the workshop, opened up for Arnie Naiman & Chris Coole with a few tunes from his wonderful new CD Banjo Suite which I highly recommend. Paul has the gift of creatively taking the banjo onto new musical horizons. I found his music very inspiring."
Bonnie Kumer - The Mudcat CafÈ



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