I tend to listen to music when I’m doing focused work and I prefer instrumental music for that particular purpose. Recently the Spotify algorithm suggested a song off the album Banjophony by Damien O’Kane and Ron Block, and I was hooked instantly.
I live in the rural south, right at the edge of Appalachia, and I love the corner of the world where I live. Bluegrass music – typified by banjo, mandolin, upright bass, and guitar – sounds like home to me. Now, neither of the artists involved in Banjophony are from Appalachia, but they play a killer banjo!
If asked to describe Banjophony I would say it’s modern fast paced bluegrass carried by frenetic banjo virtuosity, where guitar, upright bass, and flute play supporting roles.
My favorite tune on Banjophony is Brian Boru’s Reel. It’s upbeat and lively while still carrying that sense of bluegrass melancholy that makes me think of home. For me though, it’s the insane 16th note picking at around 2:25 that really stands out and blows me away.