There is a Zen concept known as "beginner's mind," wherein even an expert practitioner of an art approaches his task with openness and lack of preconceptions. In music, this state manifests itself in those magical moments when new harmonic ideas and technical flourishes seem to come without effort and often surprise even the performer himself. "Galax NYC," by the Square Peg Rounders is an album that draws its strength from capturing this open state of mind. It is replete with these magical moments.
Recorded in one four-hour session in New York City, the album had its genesis a week earlier at the annual Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, VA, which all three musicians have been attending regularly for many years. Erica wandered by Sam and Aaron playing some banjo and fiddle duets and jumped in with rhythm guitar that instantly charged the jam with a new fire and energy. Weiss' rock-solid old time rhythm provided the perfect foundation for the spontaneous interplay of Lewis's fiddling, which invents a happy intersection of Clark Kessinger and Vassar Clements, and Guthridge's three-finger banjo playing, which alloys the flowing melodicism of an Alan Munde-style fiddle tune with the punchy emotion of a fretless clawhammer player.
The trio wanted to record while the pure musical magic was flowing all around them at Galax but lacked the equipment. Then, by a happy confluence of complicated schedules (including an eight-hour layover in New York for Aaron on his way back to Berlin) the Square Peg Rounders were able to reserve studio time the week after Galax and were able to make the magic happen once again, this time in front of microphones. Sam, Aaron and Erica have been playing together informally at festivals and jams for many years, and they are so glad that they had the opportunity to make this record together and share it with you. Enjoy!