Way down in the Blue Ridge mountains, in beautiful Floyd, Virginia, is a string band called Blue Moonshine. With inspired four-part harmony, tight fiddle and mandolin leads, a blend of original songs, pure Virginia bluegrass, gypsy jazz instrumentals, and modern covers, Blue Moonshine is a fresh take on a classic sound. Blue Moonshine is new mountain music.
June 2005 marks the release of the group's first CD, New Mountain Music. Serendipitously recorded live in one afternoon, New Mountain Music features 11 original songs ranging from the upbeat opening track, Front Porch Swing, to the powerful two-part instrumental Darmagi / Mars Hall. "This is what making a record is supposed to be like," says the group's mandolin player, Abe Goorskey. "Friends playing music in one room, all together." It's easy to see what he means. There is an immediacy and an intimacy in this recording-a sense of joy and energy, a sense that this group loves making music.
Although steeped in mountain music from a young age, Abe Goorskey only began playing the mandolin two years ago. Already an accomplished guitarist, Abe found his musical voice when he traded six strings for eight. His playing is intuitive enough to belie the hours of work he puts into his technical prowess, and his emerging voice as a singer and songwriter reveals his growing musical vision. Abe's expert playing-along with relatively little time on his chosen instrument-has earned him the deserved reputation of a mandolin player to watch.
Fiddle player Mike Mitchell's early beginnings as a classical violin student, symphony player, and violin performance major led him to a life as a recording artist and performer. Mike has recorded and released several successful albums with both rock and acoustic bands. After settling in the mountains of southwest Virginia with his family, Mike began to explore the difference between playing the fiddle and the violin. It is precisely his classical roots that make his playing so striking, and his smooth baritone voice is a perfect match for his songs.
Upright bassist and tenor, Will Farmer, grew up listening to a mix of bluegrass, the Beatles, Hendrix and the Stones. Influenced by his father's talented flat-picking, Will first took the stage playing the ukulele for his second grade classmates. By the time he was a senior in high school, he was the top Tenor 1 in the state of Virginia. In college he took up the bass, directed and sang in a male acapella group, and began to explore writing music. Now holding down the low end while floating the high notes, Will makes his diverse musical gifts seem effortless.
Rhythm guitarist Phil Norman took a winding road to playing bluegrass music. He toured for five years as a solo songwriter and as the singer for the rock band Cory Brammer & 32leaves. He brings a seasoned stage presence to the group, as well as his versatile songwriting. "It's been a great experience," explains Phil, "learning how to play and write for this band. I can't stop smiling whenever our four voices blend into one great thick sound."
To boil it down, Blue Moonshine is simply four friends making music. But it is more than that, too. Blue Moonshine is greater than the sum of its four parts-it is the energy and joy in the music, it is the smiles on all four faces when they play. It is the new songs that sound as if they were already classics. Blue Moonshine is a band to watch. Blue Moonshine is new mountain music.