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This Big String Band | The Next Small Thing...

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Country: Old-Timey Folk: String Band Moods: Type: Instrumental
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The Next Small Thing...

by This Big String Band

A critically acclaimed oldtime music trio featuring Chicago 5-string banjoist Steve Noel, Florida multi-instrumentalist Jim Marks on tenor and 6-string guitars, and Wisconsin fiddler David Algeo Smith, fifth place finisher at the 2002 Clifftop Festival
Genre: Country: Old-Timey
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Cousin Sally Brown
2:19 $0.99
2. Squirrel Hunters
3:00 $0.99
3. Redhaired Boy
2:20 $0.99
4. Ebenezer
2:21 $0.99
5. Leather Breeches
2:28 $0.99
6. Tugboat
2:18 $0.99
7. Cluck Old Hen
1:55 $0.99
8. Sally Ann
2:14 $0.99
9. Blackberry Blossom
2:06 $0.99
10. Jimmy in the Swamp
2:26 $0.99
11. John Riley Shepard
2:20 $0.99
12. Five Miles Ellum
2:19 $0.99
13. Paddy on the Turnpike
2:16 $0.99
14. Over the Waterfall
2:54 $0.99
15. New Liberty
2:19 $0.99
16. Frosty Morning
2:35 $0.99
17. Stony Point
1:51 $0.99
18. Arkansas Traveler/Peter Francisco
3:03 $0.99
19. Double File
2:04 $0.99
20. June Apple
2:09 $0.99
21. Wagoner
2:28 $0.99
22. Lee Highway Blues
3:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
ThisBigStringBand's "first and last" album "The Next Small Thing. . ."is a collection of old-time fiddle tunes arranged and produced by three energetic players. Fiddler David Algeo Smith was the 2004 Nevada State Adult Fiddle Champion and a fifth place finisher at both the National Old-Time Fiddlers'Contest in Weiser, ID (2004) and the Appalachian String Band Festival, Clifftop, WV (2002). Formerly the "token Westerner" in Northern Thailand's "country and eastern" group Banjoman Band & Friends and one time violinist in the EuroAmerican street band sensation The Rhythm Pygmies, David now teaches Suzuki violin and fiddle at the Oshkosh (WI) Suzuki Music Program and at the Aurora (IL) Suzuki Violins program, the latter of which was founded by his father Stan Smith and is currently co-directed by his sister Sarah Smith.

Jim Marks is the 6-string and tenor guitar player in the group. He was a founding member of the Michigan acid country outfit Les Tabourets Laches (the Loose Stools) and in the 90s he spent time in the Austin,TX bands Busted Still and The Stonecutters. An itinerant laborer, he is currently to be found somewhere in north Florida.

Steve Noel rounds out the trio with his clawhammer banjo. Formerly of the eight-piece Celtic band The Dogs of Bryan, he's also been a featured performer on various street corners and seedy bars. "The Next Small Thing. . ."is Steve's major debut as a recording artist. His solo project "Out on a Limb" is taking shape between caring for three young boys and a loving wife and managing his career as a Chicago public school librarian/computer geek.

TBSB is the culmination of two years of jamming and rehearsal in a small, dimly lit apartment in Hyde Park on Chicago's South Side. Steve and Jim each met David during the course of the latter's busking at local art fairs and on the "El" rapid transit lines, and from July 2002 until March 2004 the trio cultivated and refined their sound with a large and varied repertoire. Ultimately their work on the classic American fiddle tune led in April-May 2004 to the inside of legendary blues label Delmark's house studio, Riverside Studios, and the steady hand and ear of recording engineer Steve Wagner. "The Next Small Thing. . ." is the result of their collaboration together. Packaged with original artwork and graphic design by artist K.Kim and released to very limited distribution in July 2004,
ThisBigStringBand's "The Next Small Thing. . ." is the first CD release on the group's own homegrown label, This Small Record Label, which is dedicated to documenting and recording independent acoustic folk music in the U.S. and around the world.

Although TBSB was always considered to be a "one-off," a band destined to break up with the introduction of its album to the old-time music scene, it has been known to make very rare live appearances in places and at venues as varied as St Augustine, FL's Taberna del Gallo; Oshkosh, WI's New Moon Cafe; Warrenville, IL's Fermilab Barn Dance; and Champaign, IL's Verde Gallery. ThisBigStringBand also has developed something of a cult following on the World Wide Web, making it a unique musical animal for the 21st Century: a traditional acoustic formation--yet which is a de facto "virtual band," with only its website serving as its exclusive "face" to the world.

ThisBigStringBand has been more or less "temporarily disbanded" since 2004, but the group's members nevertheless are engaged permanently in intense negotiations with their wives and girlfriends to work out the logistics of a Midwest tour in 2009-10. Also looming on the horizon: a busking trip to Switzerland and Germany; a long-awaited and much-anticipated concert tour of the former Soviet Union's Gulag Archipelago (made infamous by Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn); and a pseudo-documentary film capturing David's meandering musings along the IL-WI state line as he searches in vain for the "Sundays in Racine" old-time music jam sessions in the dead of mid-winter.



to write a review

Steve O

Excellent old-time music. My new favorite band.
This is my new favorite band. This CD is awesome! Love the Five Miles Ellum, New Liberty, Frosty Morning, Arkansas Traveler, and June Apple. Fiddling is wonderful and accompaniment is excellent. These tunes are a must for anyone's repertoire for playing old time music. Get the CD, get out your instrument, and get to playing. Highly recommended.

Jerry Rogers

David is able to project a sound that is very technical or what we " Ole Fiddlers" CALL "NOTEY" (noteworthy).His version of Redhaired Boy is the best I've ever heard. I play it, my cousin Jackie Burgess( Stanly County Boys) plays it and my grand-daddy Benny Rogers (1894 - 1961)played it too...Now, I've been Fiddlin' nearly 35 yrs here in the South and we've always called it Redheaded Irishman. But, it dont make no never mind! David Smith can call it whatever he likes. His respect for Old-Time Music, in my opinion, is primary in his quest to achieve his music goals...


great traditional music!!!
They play traditional music as it should be done. It is GREAT!!!


god damned hell yeah
from chicago... whooda thought

Great tunes, Love, T-Claw

Sharon Graf, The Old Time Herald, Winter 2005

". . .(L)overs of good old-time music owe it to themselves to pay some attention
While banjo and fiddle solos on this album are excellent, the band's strength is how the instruments work together. (Steve) Noel and (David Algeo) Smith are so well synchronized it is hard to tell who is playing what. What I thought was a second fiddle was really Noel's banjo picking. This works because (Jim) Marks' guitar provides the matrix necessary for the banjo and fiddle melodic subtleties to flourish. . .(TBSB's) music sparkles technically yet at the same time is dancable and full of tasteful variation. . .

David Brooks

I'm Telling Everyone
I bought this CD on a hunch, and it has taken over my car CD player and my iPod. I love the tunes, the instrumentation and the energy. I learned the banjo parts fo Squirrel Hunters, Leather Breeches and Five Miles Ellum, and I plan to learn more. I've been telling many of my oldtime internet buddies about this CD. It's great preparation for my contra dance band gigs as well. If the band revives, come to Louisville!

Bubba Lou

". . .(it's) old-time at its best!"
ThisBigStringBand is purty frickn hot, if you like that old-time sound, which I sometimes do. Check out that Cousin Sally Brown when you get a chance--it won't disappoint. I also like Cluck Old Hen, Sally Ann, and Lee Highway Blues. When I first heard it I thought to myself: this is old-time at its best!"