Meantime’s Up (April 28, 2023)
Boundary-breaking and genre-defying are handy terms to use in describing musical artists, but while they can lend a certain cachet to a project, music that really eludes easy description is actually pretty rare. Still, if such terms can be applied to any group at all, the Jon Stickley Trio is at the head of the line for such treatment. For while the music made by guitarist Stickley, violinist Lyndsay Pruett and percussionist Hunter Deacon contains innumerable influences that dart in and out of a listener’s ear, its all-instrumental essence is truly unique. And while the Trio’s 2020 debut for Organic Records, Scripting The Flip, was a convincing enough depiction of the group’s distinctive identity to earn rave reviews from jazz and Americana publications alike, their upcoming album, Meantime’s Up, serves up compelling proof that they’ve been digging even deeper.
Building on singles the Trio has released over the past two years, Meantime’s Up may best fit under the jazz umbrella, expertly matching inspiration and execution in a series of collective creations knit together with a handful of interludes given over to their individual members. The result is at once engagingly diverse and yet artistically coherent, even as individual entries like “Future Ghost,”“In And About” and “Golden Eagle” — all previously-released singles — exhibit the same traits in miniature, with multiple themes and moods, while others, like the new “Preston’s Tune,” a grassy flatpicking showcase, or Pruett’s “Death By Rainbow,” are deeper explorations of single textures and grooves. Rounded out by the focused interludes — Pruett’s lushly melodic “Consequence of Desire,” Stickley’s moody “Moonbow” and “Morning Candy,” and Deacon’s epic explorations of percussive tonality, “Causeway Pt. 1” and “Causeway Pt. 2” — the 50+ minute project is an expansive offering that brings to mind such archetypal suites as Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, taking listeners on a lengthy, ever-changing journey to the heart of the Trio’s creativity. And with its devotion to rich tones and its elegant counterpoints, Meantime’s Up is perfectly suited to a full treatment in the exciting new sonic landscape of Dolby Atmos, available on Apple Music, Amazon Music and TIDAL.
The album is now available for pre-order, add or save ahead of its April 28 release.
Scripting The Flip (April 3, 2020)
A series of singles preceding Scripting The Flip’s release show the band’s ability to weave a multitude of strands into one coherent, distinctive fabric.
The first, “Animate Object,” is an intelligent blend of jazz, latin, and dance music. It’s unconventional and alluring, making it a perfect example of the group’s twist on acoustic-based music. “The world is a swirling collection of objects passing through space and time. As humans, we have our own orbits that intersect with others as we live in the world. ‘Animate Object’ explores the idea of different musical orbits coming together to create something unexpected,” says Stickley.
Inspired by the late night festival sets the Trio loves to play, where it often takes on a life of its own, “Don’t Slip” is the group’s dance anthem. “Overall this song is one of the most ‘us’ tracks we’ve ever recorded,” says Stickley. “It’s about the freedom to explore and get lost in the groove, and when it takes over, make sure not to slip!”
The third is a characteristically witty yet deeply rooted take on a bluegrass classic: legendary fiddler Kenny Baker’s “Bluegrass In The Backwoods.” Stickley adds, “The tune captures one of the coolest aspects of bluegrass: its ability to naturally incorporate other genres and styles. It’s easy to hear the influences of gypsy jazz, and even bebop in the phasing of the melody.”
These, with the album’s 8 other instrumental offerings, move through moods that evolve over the course of the album and even within the tracks themselves. More highlights include “Driver,” with guest banjoist Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon, which reunites Stickley with a long-time friend and former bandmate in a slice of modern Colorado ‘grass, and the title track, “Scripting the Flip,” where intricately geometrical musical phrases act as a metaphor for this Trio’s aim, blending and extending a style rooted in one world but entering another.
In this way, the Jon Stickley Trio transcends the standards of acoustic music with a wide range of influences masterfully integrated into a signature approach. The collection sums up the Jon Stickley Trio: A three way collaboration expressing music that comes from the heart and the mind and speaks to both.
Listen to Scripting The Flip HERE.
Maybe Believe (May 12, 2017)
Riding the wave of their critically acclaimed 2015 album, Lost at Last, Jon Stickley Trio independently releases their 3rd full length album, Maybe Believe, on May 12, 2017. Jon Stickley Trio combines Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage on drums.
“The latest record from the Jon Stickley Trio flexes new and strong muscles, utilizing more progressive structures and deeper pockets than ever before,” says Producer Dave King (The Bad Plus). “All the while, the group retains its place as a modern-thinking acoustic ensemble with one foot in tradition and the other in a bluegrass honored future that allows for the avant garde, punk, and bebop to mix in freely and tastefully.”
The album title, Maybe Believe, is a continuation of the theme from Lost at Last. With Lost at Last, the band was stepping away from their collective musical past, into new territory that was somewhat uncomfortable, but also inspiring and free. With Maybe Believe, they have become more comfortable in their own skin yet retain an element of vulnerability while continuing to move into uncharted territory. This album marks the next step in the band’s evolution, and takes the listener to original and unexpected new places that still embody the familiarity of the Jon Stickley Trio’s signature style. https://s3.amazonaws.com/trio-music/02+Playpeople.mp3
Lost at Last (October 2015)
Lost at Last was recorded in the band’s hometown of Asheville, NC at the iconic Echo Mountain Studios under the watchful eye of producer Dave King (The Bad Plus).
The New York Times’ Nate Chinen writes “… there’s hardy cohesion among the players — no less on the Gypsy standard ‘Valse de Wasso’ than on ‘Darth Radar’ a turbocharged original with a ska upbeat and a shredding melody. And when Mr. Stickley and friends turn to bluegrass, as on ‘The High Road,’ by Tim O’Brien, they sound both respectful and free.”
“With Lost at Last, the Jon Stickley Trio combine the ethos of a newgrass power trio with the energy and dynamics of a runaway train. Stickley’s powerful flatpicking gathers influences from the greats such as Tony Rice, but also allows for other, more modern, sounds to creep in. ‘Darth Radar’ is a rapid-fire take that moves from a serious ska beat to burning surf-style runs that would make Dick Dale proud.” —Premier Guitar, Jason Shadrick
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