Chris Warner- banjo & vocals
Tom Adams * Darren Beachley *
Lickity Split * Goin' to the Dance listen
(mp3)* Heartbreak *
On GOIN' TO THE DANCE Chris Warner makes us keenly aware of the differences
between banjo playing and BANJO PLAYING, between bluegrass and BLUEGRASS.
His subtlety and dynamics always outweigh hot licks and flash, and each
track showcases a group of musicians who share common goals of cohesive,
well-rehearsed music performed with great sensitivity, wonderful tone
and impeccable timing. Chris emphasizes all these factors and more.
Tom Adams plays guitar and sings most of the lead on this project. Tom
and Chris go back to the 1970s and 1980s in their musical association,
when they were together in the Adams Brothers-- Chris on mandolin and
Tom on banjo. Joining them here on various cuts are fiddlers Patrick McAvinue
and Michael Cleveland, Dick Laird and Mark Seitz on mandolin, and Steve
Streett and Heath Laird on bass, with Carroll Swam on "Taxes, Troubles
and Heartaches" and Darren Beachley on "Heartbreak" and
"Don't Let Her Get Away."
In bluegrass music there are many common influences and much shared experience;
it is no surprise that the results show up here, especially in the form
of the "Jimmy Martin School of Bluegrass." The Martin connections
for all these musicians are complex, especially for Chris and Tom, and
there will always be a little bit of Jimmy in the disciplined way in which
Chris and his companions approach music.
When it comes to the artistry of the banjo, Chris gives us a blend of
tradition and innovation, with some clever effects that will give his
banjo-picking fans reasons to chuckle and say, "Why didn't I think
On "Bonaparte's Retreat" in "D" Chris capos at the
second fret in an open "C" tuning (the 4th string is dropped
to "C" and the 1st and 2nd strings are raised accordingly) that,
while common among old-time players, with the notable exception of "Bear
Tracks" from the Jimmy Martin repertoire, is rarely used in bluegrass.
Chris' songwriting skills are apparent with originals such as "Remembrance
of Mother" that echoes the Stanley Brothers' style, the pure hard-driving
"Don't Let Her Get Away," and a little bit of swing on the CD's
title tune, "Goin' to the Dance." He uses open "D"
tuning capoed at the third fret to play his "Banjo Blues" in
"F", and his "Brennie's Dream" in "A-minor"
evokes a bit of the flavor of Bill Monroe.