The Nashville Stringy Band
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The Nashville Stringy Band

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Band Americana Bluegrass

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Press


"Review of Todd phillips' "Time Frame""

Time Frame - "a musical hybrid" - a sound that is blending influences from the west coast "cool jazz" scene with a new acoustic movement.
A startling solo album from Todd Phillips, one of acoustic music’s most-recorded bass players. Intimately blending his own impeccable playing with Darol Anger’s violin and Paul McCandless’ woodwinds, Phillips has arrived a fresh, open music influenced by jazz, bluegrass, and new age, but sounding like nothing else.
"...Phillips establishes himself as a multi-instrumentalist and composer capable of blending diverse influences into a seamless musical statement. ...a stunning collection." - The Nashville Scene - The Nashville Scene


"Review of Todd phillips' "Time Frame""

Time Frame - "a musical hybrid" - a sound that is blending influences from the west coast "cool jazz" scene with a new acoustic movement.
A startling solo album from Todd Phillips, one of acoustic music’s most-recorded bass players. Intimately blending his own impeccable playing with Darol Anger’s violin and Paul McCandless’ woodwinds, Phillips has arrived a fresh, open music influenced by jazz, bluegrass, and new age, but sounding like nothing else.
"...Phillips establishes himself as a multi-instrumentalist and composer capable of blending diverse influences into a seamless musical statement. ...a stunning collection." - The Nashville Scene - The Nashville Scene


"Colin O'Brien Debut CD Review"

Michigan-reared singer/songwriter Colin O'Brien toured the midwest in the early 90s and released an indie LP with the band Jugglers and Thieves, but his masterfull guitar technique diden't jell untill after a stint ata Seattle conservatory studying classical guitar. O'Brien came to Milwaukee to learn the Leo Kottke-inspired "American fingerstyle" that the Wisconsin conservatory specializes in, but he quickly found himself immersed in the city's vibrant coffeehouse acoustic scene. His self released album "Pressure In The West" produced by local hero Willy Porter and performed both solo and with O'Briens band The Headless Chickens melds Americana and classical leanings, spirirted appalachian folk, and melancholy musings in the style of Nick Drake. O'Briens songwriting is strong, his obscure covers well chosen, and his rustic vocals convey more years than he has lived. "Pressure In The West" has been heard on the natioanally syndicated "World Cafe" program, as well as on public and college stations in Milwaukee and Detroit. O'Brien has performed in clubs throughout the mid west, performing as a headliner and opening for such acts as Patti Larkin and Paul Cebar. - Billboard Magazine


"Colin O'Brien Debut CD Review"

Michigan-reared singer/songwriter Colin O'Brien toured the midwest in the early 90s and released an indie LP with the band Jugglers and Thieves, but his masterfull guitar technique diden't jell untill after a stint ata Seattle conservatory studying classical guitar. O'Brien came to Milwaukee to learn the Leo Kottke-inspired "American fingerstyle" that the Wisconsin conservatory specializes in, but he quickly found himself immersed in the city's vibrant coffeehouse acoustic scene. His self released album "Pressure In The West" produced by local hero Willy Porter and performed both solo and with O'Briens band The Headless Chickens melds Americana and classical leanings, spirirted appalachian folk, and melancholy musings in the style of Nick Drake. O'Briens songwriting is strong, his obscure covers well chosen, and his rustic vocals convey more years than he has lived. "Pressure In The West" has been heard on the natioanally syndicated "World Cafe" program, as well as on public and college stations in Milwaukee and Detroit. O'Brien has performed in clubs throughout the mid west, performing as a headliner and opening for such acts as Patti Larkin and Paul Cebar. - Billboard Magazine


"Mike Compton - Rotten Taters"

Mike Compton has completed his first solo mandolin recording, a compilation of original and traditional selections entitled Rotten Taters. The project was spontaneously conceived and recorded in Australia this past summer while on a solo tour.

Compton's new recording will be a welcome gift to his fans. Accompanied only by mandolin, mandola and voice, Rotten Taters displays his considerable songwriting skills and the ability to interpret traditional American music as few can.

We caught up with Mike this week in Nashville during a break in teaching mandolin to ask him about how the project came about:

"I recorded "Rotten Taters" after much of what we will call friendly persuasion on Paul Duff's part.

"Over the last number of years I've been fortunate enough to go down to Australia and work the festival circuit a bit as well as veer off and do some workshops and a bit of the club scene. Each trip down has seen an increase in the number of jobs and the number of really cool places I've visited, not to mention meeting just great ordinary folks. After the last trip, Paul began telling me how much I could add to the trip if I had a CD to sell, you know, something for the festival goers to remember the experience by. I really didn't feel like I was ready to do a CD so I didn't pursue it.

"This past year was another stellar year and there was more talk about a CD. Not only did I get to work with the Jumpsteady Boys (Molsky, Stefanini, Newberry) but I got to do a few more festivals and venues I'd not done before in addition to hanging out in the countryside and eating special recipe 'Viagara' sausages with the Strzelecki Stringdusters. I even met Emma Thompson and her husband at my gig in Fremantle. Come to find out that Nanny McPhee is a bluegrass fan! After a couple days' party and gig down in Margaret River, we went back to Paul's house in Perth and he began telling me how I had a few days off and that I really ought to think about doing a recording and that he had a friend who used to work in their band, Peter Grandison, who had a recording studio not far down the road who just happened to have a few days off and was willing to work cheap and so on. Well, after a bit I could see that these guys had gone to a lot of trouble to help me out so I figured I couldn't avoid the issue without a major guilt complex, so I just got out my list of material that I'd been compiling over the last few trips to Oz and circled about 19-20 songs that I figured I could do without butchering them too much and that's where it started.

"I threw in about 6-7 tunes that I had written over the years, some other obscure things I'd worked on that I like and just lit into it. In the end, it was a good thing and a thing that needed doing because now I've begun working on a couple more lists of tunes for another couple projects I'd like to do. If it wasn't for the insistence and generosity of several folks in Oz, I'd not have done this recording. Here's hoping that it goes down good." - Mandolin Cafe


"Mike Compton - Rotten Taters"

Mike Compton has completed his first solo mandolin recording, a compilation of original and traditional selections entitled Rotten Taters. The project was spontaneously conceived and recorded in Australia this past summer while on a solo tour.

Compton's new recording will be a welcome gift to his fans. Accompanied only by mandolin, mandola and voice, Rotten Taters displays his considerable songwriting skills and the ability to interpret traditional American music as few can.

We caught up with Mike this week in Nashville during a break in teaching mandolin to ask him about how the project came about:

"I recorded "Rotten Taters" after much of what we will call friendly persuasion on Paul Duff's part.

"Over the last number of years I've been fortunate enough to go down to Australia and work the festival circuit a bit as well as veer off and do some workshops and a bit of the club scene. Each trip down has seen an increase in the number of jobs and the number of really cool places I've visited, not to mention meeting just great ordinary folks. After the last trip, Paul began telling me how much I could add to the trip if I had a CD to sell, you know, something for the festival goers to remember the experience by. I really didn't feel like I was ready to do a CD so I didn't pursue it.

"This past year was another stellar year and there was more talk about a CD. Not only did I get to work with the Jumpsteady Boys (Molsky, Stefanini, Newberry) but I got to do a few more festivals and venues I'd not done before in addition to hanging out in the countryside and eating special recipe 'Viagara' sausages with the Strzelecki Stringdusters. I even met Emma Thompson and her husband at my gig in Fremantle. Come to find out that Nanny McPhee is a bluegrass fan! After a couple days' party and gig down in Margaret River, we went back to Paul's house in Perth and he began telling me how I had a few days off and that I really ought to think about doing a recording and that he had a friend who used to work in their band, Peter Grandison, who had a recording studio not far down the road who just happened to have a few days off and was willing to work cheap and so on. Well, after a bit I could see that these guys had gone to a lot of trouble to help me out so I figured I couldn't avoid the issue without a major guilt complex, so I just got out my list of material that I'd been compiling over the last few trips to Oz and circled about 19-20 songs that I figured I could do without butchering them too much and that's where it started.

"I threw in about 6-7 tunes that I had written over the years, some other obscure things I'd worked on that I like and just lit into it. In the end, it was a good thing and a thing that needed doing because now I've begun working on a couple more lists of tunes for another couple projects I'd like to do. If it wasn't for the insistence and generosity of several folks in Oz, I'd not have done this recording. Here's hoping that it goes down good." - Mandolin Cafe


"Dancing By The River Colin O’Brien’s American journey"

Colin O’Brien’s songs are timeless. Many of the numbers on his new CD, Dancing by the River, sound as if they lived in the ether for centuries, only to be channeled finally through his own imagination. “One of the biggest compliments I can get when I play is, ‘Did you write that song?’” he says.

O’Brien has played in a variety of settings since the ’90s when he studied American finger style guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, including with duos and a popular string band, Salt Creek. Lately, he’s been making a living as a soloist. Styling himself in the image of folk entertainer John Hartford, he travels with banjo, fiddle, guitar and a plywood floor on which he does a shoe dance to the rhythm. O’Brien has developed a cross-American solo circuit taking him to clubs and children’s events, nursing homes and music festivals, libraries and wine bars.

For the kids’ shows, he emphasizes traditional material. “The theme is ‘Rails & Trails’ and I focus on frontier-era songs and stories,” he explains. “Even if the kids have never heard ‘Oh, Susannah,’ they respond. It must be in our gene pool somehow. The success of these events isn’t just the music but the rapport I get with the kids by letting them try the instruments and getting them involved.”

One consistent icebreaker, whether with children or adults, is the banjo. “The instrument is wide open now,” O’Brien insists, pointing to Bela Fleck and others who have taken it outside its associations with folk music, Dixieland and the South. He speaks of his 17year-old nephew, a musician who has embraced the banjo without a clear sense of its folkloric roots. “For him, I think, it’s a non-corporate instrument.

It’s almost rebellious playing the banjo. It’s about trying not to conform.” O’Brien began writing songs at an even younger age than his nephew, when he was just 15. “It’s the part of me that’s been most consistent through my many incarnations as a musician. I’m drawn to different rivers of music, but I wouldn’t be comfortable just playing bluegrass banjo or old-timey fiddle or finger style guitar. I’ve never rested on one of those styles, but all of them are ingredients that feed into what I’m writing.” Dave Luhrssen

- Shepherd Express


"Dancing By The River Colin O’Brien’s American journey"

Colin O’Brien’s songs are timeless. Many of the numbers on his new CD, Dancing by the River, sound as if they lived in the ether for centuries, only to be channeled finally through his own imagination. “One of the biggest compliments I can get when I play is, ‘Did you write that song?’” he says.

O’Brien has played in a variety of settings since the ’90s when he studied American finger style guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, including with duos and a popular string band, Salt Creek. Lately, he’s been making a living as a soloist. Styling himself in the image of folk entertainer John Hartford, he travels with banjo, fiddle, guitar and a plywood floor on which he does a shoe dance to the rhythm. O’Brien has developed a cross-American solo circuit taking him to clubs and children’s events, nursing homes and music festivals, libraries and wine bars.

For the kids’ shows, he emphasizes traditional material. “The theme is ‘Rails & Trails’ and I focus on frontier-era songs and stories,” he explains. “Even if the kids have never heard ‘Oh, Susannah,’ they respond. It must be in our gene pool somehow. The success of these events isn’t just the music but the rapport I get with the kids by letting them try the instruments and getting them involved.”

One consistent icebreaker, whether with children or adults, is the banjo. “The instrument is wide open now,” O’Brien insists, pointing to Bela Fleck and others who have taken it outside its associations with folk music, Dixieland and the South. He speaks of his 17year-old nephew, a musician who has embraced the banjo without a clear sense of its folkloric roots. “For him, I think, it’s a non-corporate instrument.

It’s almost rebellious playing the banjo. It’s about trying not to conform.” O’Brien began writing songs at an even younger age than his nephew, when he was just 15. “It’s the part of me that’s been most consistent through my many incarnations as a musician. I’m drawn to different rivers of music, but I wouldn’t be comfortable just playing bluegrass banjo or old-timey fiddle or finger style guitar. I’ve never rested on one of those styles, but all of them are ingredients that feed into what I’m writing.” Dave Luhrssen

- Shepherd Express


"Salt Creek Live Recording Review"

Thanks in large part to the jam scene’s interest, bluegrass has been stretched in some very untraditional directions over the last decade. Milwaukee’s Salt Creek is among those breaking the unwritten conventions of the genre, but they don’t abide strictly by the rules of jam music, either, relying instead on the interplay of two musicians born into different schools: Banjoist Colin O’Brien, a classically trained guitarist, and bassist Guy Fiorentini, who cut his teeth in Milwaukee’s ’90s punk scene. The quartet, which also leans on the easy guitar work of Jim Eannelli and the unusually prominent (at least for bluegrass) drums of Eric Radloff, tonight celebrates the release of its latest album, Live!


- Shepherd Express


"Salt Creek Live Recording Review"

Thanks in large part to the jam scene’s interest, bluegrass has been stretched in some very untraditional directions over the last decade. Milwaukee’s Salt Creek is among those breaking the unwritten conventions of the genre, but they don’t abide strictly by the rules of jam music, either, relying instead on the interplay of two musicians born into different schools: Banjoist Colin O’Brien, a classically trained guitarist, and bassist Guy Fiorentini, who cut his teeth in Milwaukee’s ’90s punk scene. The quartet, which also leans on the easy guitar work of Jim Eannelli and the unusually prominent (at least for bluegrass) drums of Eric Radloff, tonight celebrates the release of its latest album, Live!


- Shepherd Express


"After A Song"

Colin O'Brien covers a lot of territory within Americana on his latest CD of mostly original songs. Tunes such as “Mountain Stage” could easily fill any sawdust-covered dance floor, while “New Territory” swings like a country-fried Hot Club number and the frisky “Hey You” could be a lost title from Gram Parsons' catalog. A talented guitarist and banjo player, O'Brien has assembled a superb multi-instrumental string band in the form of Larry Perkins, Matt Combs and Mark Howard, with Dennis Crouch supporting the enterprise on bass. Although many of the songs have a contemporary ring, the band's vintage instruments (some dating to the 19th century) endow the recording with an authentically woody sound.
- Shepherd Express


"After A Song"

Colin O'Brien covers a lot of territory within Americana on his latest CD of mostly original songs. Tunes such as “Mountain Stage” could easily fill any sawdust-covered dance floor, while “New Territory” swings like a country-fried Hot Club number and the frisky “Hey You” could be a lost title from Gram Parsons' catalog. A talented guitarist and banjo player, O'Brien has assembled a superb multi-instrumental string band in the form of Larry Perkins, Matt Combs and Mark Howard, with Dennis Crouch supporting the enterprise on bass. Although many of the songs have a contemporary ring, the band's vintage instruments (some dating to the 19th century) endow the recording with an authentically woody sound.
- Shepherd Express


"Nashville Stringy Band Live!"

Here’s a guy who plays the banjo and the fiddle and the guitar, and he wears a derby hat and does solo shows that include a healthy number of John Hartford songs. Got him pegged, right? Well, not quite. Colin O’Brien’s show impressed Hartford String Band veteran Larry Perkins enough that he wound up co-producing O’Brien’s latest, After a Song. Yes, there’s a Hartford tune or two on the album, but that’s not exactly the point. O’Brien has made an album that sounds like what might have happened had Hartford brought some of his old buddies into the studio to make a Colin O’Brien tribute — an album that more than occasionally bottles the lightning that was Hartford’s engagingly off-center songwriting, without settling for simple imitation. For the concert he’ll be accompanied by Hartford sidekicks Matt Combs (fiddle) and Mike Compton (mandolin), along with the always reliable Todd Phillips on bass. It ought to be a treat.
— Jon Weisberger, The Nashville Scene

- The Nashville Scene


"Nashville Stringy Band Live!"

Here’s a guy who plays the banjo and the fiddle and the guitar, and he wears a derby hat and does solo shows that include a healthy number of John Hartford songs. Got him pegged, right? Well, not quite. Colin O’Brien’s show impressed Hartford String Band veteran Larry Perkins enough that he wound up co-producing O’Brien’s latest, After a Song. Yes, there’s a Hartford tune or two on the album, but that’s not exactly the point. O’Brien has made an album that sounds like what might have happened had Hartford brought some of his old buddies into the studio to make a Colin O’Brien tribute — an album that more than occasionally bottles the lightning that was Hartford’s engagingly off-center songwriting, without settling for simple imitation. For the concert he’ll be accompanied by Hartford sidekicks Matt Combs (fiddle) and Mike Compton (mandolin), along with the always reliable Todd Phillips on bass. It ought to be a treat.
— Jon Weisberger, The Nashville Scene

- The Nashville Scene


"Milwaukee Journal Sentinal"

Milwaukee's Colin O'Brien brought an hours worth of back-country bluegrass flavor to the asphalt fields of Summerfest Sunday.
O'Brien, a multi instrumentalist managed to hold his own at the Ticket maste/Main St. Cafe Legends Stage with a well paced set of engaging old time guitar tunes.
After courageously playing an original instumental called "Laura" descibed by O'Brien as "Possibly the mellowest single piece of music this festival will hear all week," the crowd warmed to the jaunty tunes "Wayside" and "John Boy."
Deftly picked banjo barnburners like "Tonys Baloney" and "Banjo Boogaloo" inspired foot stoping and delighted hooting. The eclectic mix of gravel-voiced ditties and guitar instrumentals amply showcased his abilities. - Nicholas Frank


"Milwaukee Journal Sentinal"

Milwaukee's Colin O'Brien brought an hours worth of back-country bluegrass flavor to the asphalt fields of Summerfest Sunday.
O'Brien, a multi instrumentalist managed to hold his own at the Ticket maste/Main St. Cafe Legends Stage with a well paced set of engaging old time guitar tunes.
After courageously playing an original instumental called "Laura" descibed by O'Brien as "Possibly the mellowest single piece of music this festival will hear all week," the crowd warmed to the jaunty tunes "Wayside" and "John Boy."
Deftly picked banjo barnburners like "Tonys Baloney" and "Banjo Boogaloo" inspired foot stoping and delighted hooting. The eclectic mix of gravel-voiced ditties and guitar instrumentals amply showcased his abilities. - Nicholas Frank


"The Onion"

Like Lil' Rev O'Brien is an alumnus of the local acoustic showcases series. O'Briens flying finger picked folk blues guitar and humorous original songs have since been heard at many local venues. Technical prowess, a collection of funky guitars (A $30 Maybell parlor size chief among them) and soulfull slide work have placed O'Brien near the fore of Milwaukee acoustic guitarists. Pressure In The West, which Willy Porter and O'Brien recently co-produced at Porters Dog Tracks studio, features standards like Blind Blake's "Police Dog Blues" and originals like D For Dick, which rhymes "Stupid lise spinning round in my head" with "I just want to propagate and get you in my bed." - Picks CD Release Party


"The Onion"

Like Lil' Rev O'Brien is an alumnus of the local acoustic showcases series. O'Briens flying finger picked folk blues guitar and humorous original songs have since been heard at many local venues. Technical prowess, a collection of funky guitars (A $30 Maybell parlor size chief among them) and soulfull slide work have placed O'Brien near the fore of Milwaukee acoustic guitarists. Pressure In The West, which Willy Porter and O'Brien recently co-produced at Porters Dog Tracks studio, features standards like Blind Blake's "Police Dog Blues" and originals like D For Dick, which rhymes "Stupid lise spinning round in my head" with "I just want to propagate and get you in my bed." - Picks CD Release Party


Discography

Live at the Station Inn Recorded in Sept 2011

Photos

Bio

The Nashville Stringy Band:
Colin O’Brien, Mike Compton, Matt Combs and Todd Phillips.

The Nashville Stringy Band is an acoustic super-group, featuring some of Nashville’s best musicians. As entertaining as they are virtuosic, they play a high energy blend of Americana folk styles, a mix of Old Time, Blues, John Hartford songs and those penned by Colin O’Brien.

Currently booking concerts and festivals for 2014.

Todd Phillips, bass. Todd is a founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet and has won two Grammy Awards. He was a member of the legendary Bluegrass Album Band and has played with Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Chris Thile, Joan Baez, Del McCoury and dozens more. “One of the most meticulous and musical artists of the new acoustic movement” -San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Mike Compton, mandolin. Mike has played with Gregg Allman, Elvis Costello, Faith Hill, Ralph Stanley, Willie Nelson, Peter Rowan and John Hartford, with whom he recorded and toured extensively until Hartford’s death in 2001. He is a Grammy award winner and has also been honored with a state resolution by the Mississippi state senate. Mike has recently released “Rotten Taters” a compilation of traditional and original tunes. “A certified mandolin icon.” -Mandolin Magazine.

Matt Combs, fiddle. Matt is one of Music City’s most in demand musicians and is regularly featured on the Grand Ol’ Opry. He’s played with John Hartford, Jerry Douglas, Charlie Daniels, Marty Stuart, Norman Blake, Doc Watson and many others. In 2011 he was nominated for a Grammy for his contributions to “Memories of John” a tribute to Mr. Hartford. Matt appears regularly on ABC’s ‘Nashville’.

Colin O’Brien, banjo, guitar, fiddle and feet. His latest release “After A Song” “…Bottles the lightning that was John Hartford’s engagingly off-center songwriting.” -The Nashville Scene. Colin also brings a rare performing style to the stage, often dancing foot percussion while singing and playing. “Colin O’Brien is a great entertainer.”
-Tim O’Brien. When not entertaining on the road, O’Brien may be found dancing in his front yard on the banks of the Cumberland River with his fiddle and banjo as the General Jackson steamboat rounds Hartford’s bend.

For bookings: www.colingobrien.com