Antarctica, November 1915. While on expedition, Ernest Shackleton risked his life to save a banjo from his sinking ship, calling it “vital mental medicine.” For three weeks, the survivors had little more than an upturned boat and that banjo to keep their bodies warm and spirits fed. The Sligo Creek Stompers turn to this story of inspiration for their second album,
“Vital Mental Medicine.” The Washington-area band keeps the spirit of stringband music alive with their unique interpretation of American roots music. The album's thirteen songs explore traditional New Orleans jazz, scrappy old time and Irish fiddle tunes, and country rags. Hailing from another era, the recordings offer a cure to the trappings of the urban jungle.
The band's four members—Sarah Foard, Adrian Erlinger, Jess Eliot Myhre, and Chris Ousley—first began playing together in 2010 at farmer's markets, street corners, and barn dances. The group created their own raucous but refined blend of traditional music and got to work playing at venues and recording material. In August 2012, the Sligo Creek Stompers brought their sound to the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, a show that made them fixtures in the local traditional music scene. “Vital Mental Medicine” was released in January 2013 to a sold out audience at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. With a slew of stringed instruments in tow, the Sligo Creek Stompers aim to delight audiences and passersby with their youthful energy and a firm grounding in tradition.
Sligo Creek Stompers play a raucous but refined blend of traditional roots music: Appalachian & Midwestern old time and
bluegrass, New Orleans-style traditional jazz, haunted Irish fiddle tunes, honky tonk & classic country, Texas & gypsy swing. Inspired by scratchy 78 rpm records, contra dancing and a good bottle of whiskey, the Stompers are keeping the flame of American stringband music alive in the Washington, DC area.
-Recorded by the Sligo Creek Stompers at Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, VA (April 2012) and at our own home studios (May-August 2012).
- Mixed and mastered by Steve Steckler at Asparagus Media Studios in Takoma Park, MD. www.asparagusmediastudios.com
- Graphic design by Chris Weller at Oh, Happy Dagger. www.ohhappydagger.net
- Inside Cover Photo by Michael O. Snyder at Interdependent Pictures. www.interdependentpictures.org