I love it when I get to hear new newgrass music from overseas, as many
musicians from around the world play various versions of this music and
inevitably wonder what the Yanks think about it. Jason Titley grew up
in a musical family whose father was part of the rock-and-roll scene of
1960s London, England. He played in various musical formations with his
father, Bill, from an early age, mostly playing percussion. As Titley
grew older, he continued playing the drums and keyboards and attended
various music schools.
Then, Titley moved to Totnes, an
artist-filled town in southern England whose history goes back 2,000
years. It was there, along the tidal river called Dart that Titley
discovered bluegrass music. Eventually, he moved west to another river
town, Tewkesbury, where he woodshedded with a Martin D-28 guitar for a
year and emerged with a new bluegrass band called Natural Hazard. That
led to the groups The Daily Planet and Rabbi John.
is Titley’s latest solo album and, on it, he’s backed by British and
American musicians alike. To his credit, he wrote all of the songs here
and produced the cuts. There are 26 guest musicians, including Casey
Driessen, Tony Furtado, Billy Cardine, Matt Flinner, Mike Witcher, Gabe
Witcher, Jim VanCleve, Rob Ickes, Tim O’Brien, Ben Winship, his father
Bill, and many more. The music is open-minded with a World Music flare.
Titley puts this long list of guest artists to excellent use with
challenging arrangements, letting them do their thing. For those who
like to see the envelope pushed with excellent musicianship leading the
way, seek out this diverse album and enjoy.
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