by Steve Haruch
Interesting project from local supertroupe De Novo Dahl: Bobby Thompson Reels, Vol. 1 is an EP of instrumental songs based on samples taken from a collection of reel-to-reel tapes left behind by Nashville session banjo player Bobby Thompson. Here's an excerpt from the notes penned by
DND keyboardist Rob Rickman Jr., describing his uncle, who performed on Hee-Haw and played alongside Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins and countless others:
Bobby passed away in May of 2005 after living with multiple sclerosis for the better part of two decades, during which time he lost his ability to play music. Following his death, I visited my aunt and learned of these reels that are largely comprised of unreleased material. An amateur audio archivist, I undertook transferring them to digital format as a way of ensuring that his work would be preserved for generations to come, while also wanting to allow my aunt to hear any given piece without having to fire up the reel-to-reel player.
Being rather obsessed with finding samples at the time, Joel and I heard lots of potential in these reels that dated from the 1950's through the 80's. Several years had passed when Joel informed me this past fall that he intended to release a DND EP centered on samples from the reels that he had started to piece together four years ago.
Most of the tracks are quite a departure from what you'd expect to find on an old-school Nashville banjo player's incidental reels -- big beat drums, gurgling electronics, lack of recognizable banjo, etc. -- and I suppose some purists might get irritated by that, but it's a nifty listen for your Wednesday morn. Go grab it at the De Novo Dahl Bandcamp page.