Steve Brauer | Still Life With Guitar and Banjo

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Andres Segovia Bela Fleck Runaway Planet

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United States - Arkansas

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Country: Bluegrass Classical: Bach Moods: Solo Instrumental
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Still Life With Guitar and Banjo

by Steve Brauer

The debut solo EP from bluegrass band Runaway Planet's classical guitarist-turned banjo player is an eclectic collection of solo instrumental banjo and guitar works from J.S. Bach to ragtime (and a little bluegrass for good measure).
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Partita No. 3 for Solo Violin, BWV 1006 : I. Prelude
5:12 $0.99
2. Fiddle Tune Medley: Blackberry Blossom > Sailor's Hornpipe > Devil's Dream
3:17 $0.99
3. 5 Preludes for Guitar: Prelude, No. 1
5:13 $0.99
4. Maple Leaf Rag
3:34 $0.99
5. Minuet in G Major
1:49 $0.99
6. When You And I Were Young Maggie
2:29 $0.99
7. Sonata No. 1 for Solo Violin, BWV 1001: III. Siciliana
3:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I started playing guitar around the age of ten. My dad showed me my first chords. I gravitated towards fingerstyle because it sounded so intricate and textured. About fifteen years later, I found myself in college studying German literature (also intricate and textured) and classical guitar. I picked up the banjo on a whim five years later and (re)discovered an instrument whose expressive musical potential is still being explored. In the beginning, I was the reluctant banjo player, but was eventually won over by the limitless musical possibilities of the instrument. A renowned finger style guitarist once described himself as a frustrated banjo player. When I first heard that, I understood him completely. I had always wanted that kind of drive and energy from my guitar playing. Now that I have become a banjo player, I find I am only frustrated by my physical limitations. What a great banjo player Superman would make...

1. Prelude from Partita #3 for solo violin by J.S. Bach (BWV 1006) (A)
Normally played in E on guitar, this is transposed to G to accommodate the banjo's tuning. Bela Fleck plays his version in C, which is truer to the original - I have to jump up in a few spots to a higher octave because I don't have the low notes in this key. Nice work, Bela...

2. Fiddle Tune Medley: Blackberry Blossom > Sailor's Hornpipe > Devil's Dream (A, C)
A nod to one of the first melodic banjo players, Bill Keith, who used to perform several fiddle tunes strung together in this style (accompanied by Jim Rooney on guitar) before teaming up with Bill Monroe in 1963.

3. Prelude #1 (from 5 Preludes for Guitar by Heitor Villa-Lobos) (B)
One of my all-time favorite composers for guitar, from Brazil - composed solo pieces he dedicated to the legendary guitarist Andres Segovia.

4. Maple Leaf Rag (A, C)
A Scott Joplin classic! Bill Knopf, banjo teacher and performer from California has transcribed several ragtime tunes for 5-string banjo. Unfortunately, an oft-overlooked genre...

5. Minuet in G by J.S. Bach (A, B)
I found a version of this by the eclectic Australian banjo player Chris Duffey that sounded so cool I decided to record it myself. Bass line is played on the classical guitar. Just think piano lessons...

6. When You And I Were Young Maggie (A, C)
A Don Reno arrangement of an old pop tune. Don was one of the most innovative and creative first-generation banjo players in bluegrass history. Sadly forgotten and unknown by most players today...

7. Siciliana from Sonata #1 for solo violin by J.S. Bach (BWV 1001) (A)
I recorded this on guitar about ten years ago and liked it so much I decided to arrange it for banjo using the guitar sheet music. Atypical of Bach pieces usually played on guitar, this movement is slow and flowing which gives the subtle overlay of diverging melody lines a chance to shine. This is one of my favorites from Bach.

On this recording, Steve plays:
A. 1972 Baldwin Ode 5-string banjo
B. 1979 Pimentel & Sons classical guitar
C. 1980's Martin acoustic guitar

Thanks to Drew Pickens for use of his Martin guitar.

Recorded and mixed 2008-09 at Hive Studios in Little Rock, Arkansas by Drew Pickens.
Mastered in August 2009 by Euphonic Masters in Arlington, Tennessee by Brad Blackwood.
Cover drawing May 2011 by Josh Michalski



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