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CD Review: John McEuen – Made in Brooklyn

Made in Brooklyn’ must be Grammy-bound for
John McEuen
For John McEuen, the circle is still
unbroken. The founding member of the iconic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is back with
his new album, MADE IN BROOKLYN (Chesky Records).
Perhaps the word ‘back’ isn’t quite right,
because McEuen has never been away and remains as busy as ever with many
diverse musical projects, including his radio show, Acoustic Traveller, now in
its seventh year on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. 
Audiences at his live shows are treated to McEuen’s interpretation of
acoustic musical history as well his mastery of the banjo, fiddle, mandolin,
guitar, lap steel and piano. 
In addition to his packed tour schedule –
he has played more than 8,500 shows worldwide – he has created the musical
scores for fourteen films and produced numerous albums for other artists,
including ‘The Crow’ for his former high school buddy Steve Martin that won a
Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2010.
McEuen’s latest project, ‘Made in Brooklyn’
is sure to please his fans; those who have followed him since his ‘Nitty
Gritty’ days as well as those who have discovered his music more recently at
his solo performances and recordings.
As Matt Cartsonis (vocals, mandola and
guitar on the album) says, “This is a record for the archives. Recorded live,
no overdubs, no effects, no plug-ins, amazing pickers, an amazing band, great
material… who could ask for more?”
David Amram (penny whistle, flute and
percussion) noted that when he came to the recording
session, he knew it would be a treat and a learning experience. “It shows that
a great musician can even teach someone in their eighties what we’re supposed
to be doing better.”
Remarkably, ‘Made in Brooklyn’ was recorded
– on a single binaural microphone – in only two twelve-hour days in a very
chilly church that nonetheless provided the ideal acoustics for what is
described as a ‘high definition’ album. The binaural ‘dummy head’ microphone is
designed to replicate human hearing and capture true-to-life stereo imagery and
field perception.  Listen to ‘Made in
Brooklyn’ on good headphones and you will appreciate the full musical
experience of this masterful recording.
The album is a unique collection of true
‘Roots’ music, and in addition to Cartsonis and Amram mentioned above, features
the superb musicianship of David Bromberg, John Carter Cash, John Cowan, Andy
Goessling, Steve Martin, Martha Redbone, Jay Ungar, Skip Ward and more – all of
whom are master musicians in their own right, but meld together on ‘Made in
Brooklyn’ to create a musical experience that somehow is greater than the sum
of its parts.
‘Made in Brooklyn’ deserves a GRAMMY® in either
Americana or Bluegrass categories – or both.
You can see a video, titled ‘Behind the
Sound,’ featuring some of the artists sharing their stories about the recording
session, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcFYM1WnzGk
# # #
CD review by Preshias Harris for Country
Music News International

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