A Beginner’s Guide to Hoedown

Knees up, knees up. If you’ve caught the wonderful Cut A Shine troupe at this year’s Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Green Man or (this weekend) Bestival, you should cop a load of this. October 17th sees the release of ‘Beginner’s Guide to Hoedown’ (Nascente), a comprehensive triple CD of hoedown music, brought to you by everyone’s favourite barn-dance collective. Listen to 9 tracks (3 from each CD) here:

Featuring legends such as Bill Monroe, Bela Fleck and Flatt & Scruggs, archival recordings of classic barn dances with live calls, and contemporary artists from both the UK and US, this 3CD set is the first compilation to chart the sound of the 21st century hoedown.

“It was a great privilege to compile, and yet a curious task,” says Cut A Shine’s Joe Buirski. “There is no definable genre of music describable as hoedown. Indeed, the term refers more to a social function, a dance, a gathering – high-energy music played for dancing audiences. The result a real musical journey through the old time dance music of yesteryear.”

Disc 1 introduces Old Time, Square Dance & Mountain Music, kicking off with a solo dance tune by first generation banjo player Clarence Ashley. Other highlights include The Rockingham’s version of ‘Shout Lulu’, complete with barn dance calls, and the live calling of Al Brundage’s ‘Square Dance.’

Disc 2’s Bluegrass & Beyond opens with Flatt & Scrugg’s seminal ‘The Foggy Mountain Breakdown’ – used most famously in the 1967 film Bonnie & Clyde. Also included is Bill Munroe’s classic ‘Uncle Penn,’ Bela Fleck’s ‘White Water’ and ‘Old Man at the Mill,’ from one of the most influential cross over bluegrass bands, The Dillards.

The final disc of the collection is the 21st Century Hoedown, which explores the resurgence of traditional music. Highlights here include young bands like The Water Tower Bucket Boys (Portland, Oregon) and Chance McCoy’s Old Sledge (Virginia) along with tracks from Abigail Washburn, Hayseed Dixie and The Coal Porters, plus the home-grown hoedown talent of The Cedars, Kidnap Alice and The Wagon Tales.

Cut A Shine is a London based troupe of traditional musicians, dynamic dancers and crazy callers, who’ve been running sell-out barn dance events across London for the last 7 years. They regularly perform and host hoedown stages at the UK’s top festivals, including this year’s Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Green Man and Bestival.

This album was compiled by Joe Buirski, the man behind The Magpie’s Nest, the folk club which won the BBC Best Folk Club of the year award in 2010 & Joe “Hippy” Hymas (Cut A Shine Hoedown Collective).

And if that’s not enough, to celebrate the release of ‘Beginner’s Guide to Hoedown, Cut A Shine return to London on October 15th with a very special all day hoedown in Hackney’s St John’s Church. Expect their usual mix of anarchic hillbilly and barn dancing, and sample top hoedown bands, hog roasts, real ale and ciders and a host of performances and sideshows. Headline acts include Cut A Shine Barn Dance + Kidnap Alice + Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies + The Long Finger Bandits + Kazimier Krunk Band + Dusty Stray + Chicken Shed Zeppelin. £10 advance/£12 on the door. For information and tickets.

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