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Noon30: Abigail Washburn


If American old-time music is about taking earlier, simpler ways of life and music-making as one’s model, Abigail Washburn has proven herself to be a bracing revelation to that tradition. As a singer, songwriter, and clawhammer banjo player every bit as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past, she pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody’s ever heard before. Audiences who heard her at SMF 2007 with the acclaimed all-female, old-time stringband Uncle Earl and again in 2009 with the Sparrow Quartet (Béla Fleck, Casey Dreissen and Ben Sollee) are in for a different treat this time, as Abby’s sound has continued to evolve with her impressive ensemble of young American string players including Rayna Gellert, Jared Engel, Kai Welch and Jamie Dick.
“Ms. Washburn’s enigmatic songs mingle Appalachia and folk-pop, with tinges of Asia and Bruce Springsteen. Eventually, the route leads home: to a mountain gospel hymn.” –The New York Times
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