This ain't your grandpa's banjo music.
Brad Bailey (Charlotte, NC) plays 8-string banjo, a one-of-a-kind hybrid homebrew of his favorite elements of the banjo, bass, and guitar. This unique instrument allows Brad to cover bass lines, chords, melodies, and solos all at the same time while he also slaps out a backbeat and sings. Audience members at Brad's shows often comment that it is hard to believe that so much sound, rhythm, and energy are coming from just one musician on one instrument.
Featuring Austin, TX legend Chris Gage on dobro (Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Roy Clark) and the sweet southern harmony vocals of John & Kerri Crutchfield (Crutchfield Band), it is easy to assume that "8anjo" is a bluegrass record. That is until you look at the song titles, which are all familiar jazz standards that were made famous by iconic jazz artists such as Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, and Diana Krall. And furthermore, Brad is no old-school crooner, citing Eddie Vedder and Thom Yorke as being bigger influences on his vocal style than Michael Bublé or Frank Sinatra.
"I have always subscribed to a 'become who you are' philosophy of art. I love the jazz standards; that's definitely my heart language. But I also love the tone and feel of playing twangy bluegrass instruments. So why not put them together? If who we are doesn’t fit into some neat box or category, then it’s ok to go grow your own. It’s 2013 and technology has leveled the playing field for musicians in so many ways.”
Brad's "8anjo" EP breaks the rules in yet another way: it was recorded on an iPad, using the new Auria app. But in a postmodern twist, Brad enlisted Wade Starnes at Gat3 Studios in Charlotte, NC to master the finished mixes to analog tape on a vintage Ampex ATR-102 tape machine. "Recording on iPad allowed me to record at home in my pajamas without the stress of watching the clock and my wallet. But then going to tape, on a machine older than I am, warmed it up and helps it sound and feel more like the retro jazz and bluegrass records that I love to hear. It's the best of both worlds."