Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Brooklyn Folk Festival's Comin' Up...



Hello everybody -

Look out for the Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen (of the New Lost City Ramblers) appearing on Saturday, April 19th at 9:45pm at the Brooklyn Folk Festival.  It's gonna be a great event!  The whole festival takes place over the course of 3 days, April 18th - 20th and will feature 30 different bands, workshops, films screenings, a square dance and a banjo throwing contest called the "Banjo Toss."

This year the festival prominently features Old Time string band music - including a number of our friends and very favorite performers from New York and all around the country.  Including Frank Fairfield, Jerron "Blindboy" Paxton, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Gevalt, the Stone Mountain Wobblers, Dom Flemons and Hubby Jenkins (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops), the Tillers, the Blueridge Entertainers, the Whiskey Spitters, Walker & Jay, the Drunken Catfish Ramblers, Nathan Godfrey and the East River String Band featuring R. Crumb.  These are many of our favorite old time string bands in the world!  Its quite a collection and gonna be a great festival.  There will also be jug band music, Balkan, Andean and Indonesian music, songwriters, blues and a Pete Seeger tribute.  Look out!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring "Mud Season" Tour Dates


Hello everybody,

Here's a list of the Down Hill Strugglers upcoming Spring, "Mud Season" tour dates:

March Dates:

All of the below concerts and events in March are the DHS with John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers and country blues and old time musician Jerron "Blindboy" Paxton.

Friday, March 21st - Calvert Street House Concert - Baltimore, MD
Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen and Jerron "Blindboy" Paxton
7:30pm
Contact nadia.ramlagan at gmail.com for details

Saturday, March 22nd - House Concert - Charlottesville, VA
Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen and Jerron "Blindboy" Paxton
Contact houseconcerts434 at gmail.com for details.
5:30-6:15 talk--John Cohen discusses Pete Seeger; then all discuss old time music and play a few tunes.
6:30 -7:15 pot luck
7:30-9:30 concert

Sunday March 23rd - UNC Fed-Ex Global auditorium
Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen and Jerron "Blindboy" Paxton
7-9:30pm - Discussion of Old Time Music and then Concert
301 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill, NC, 27516

Monday, March 24th - TBA

Tuesday, March 25th - Belk Library, Boone, NC
Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen and Jerron "Blindboy" Paxton
218 College St.
Boone, NC 28608
2 – 3:15pm / Discussion and Music: Jewish Cultural and Progressive influences on Traditional Old Time Music
6 – 7pm / Discussion: Discussion of old time traditional music and a few tunes.
7:15 – 9:30pm  / Concert, Reception

Wednesday, March 26 - Boone, NC
Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen and Jerron "Blindboy" Paxton
4pm / Workshop at Jones House ($20)
7 – 9:30pm Concert and Discussion at Jones House ($20)

Thursday, March 27th - House Concert at Woodcrest Farm, Hillsborough, NC. 
Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen and Jerron "Blindboy" Paxton
7:30pm
Suggested donation is $20
5604 Dairyland Road
Hillsborough, NC 27278
info@woodcrestfarmnc.com

Sponsors: Black & Global Roots of the Banjo Concerts & National Endowment for the Arts

April Dates:

Saturday, April 19th - The Brooklyn Folk Festival
Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen
9:45pm @The Bell House
149 7th St between 2nd and 3rd ave.
www.brooklynfolkfest.com

Fri. & Sat. April 25th + 26th - Hillbilly Days Festival
Pikeville, KY
www.hillbillydays.com

Sunday, April 27th - Cincinnati, OH
The Northside Tavern (back room)
Doors: 8pm
Show: 9pm
Opening for The Tillers
4163 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio
www.northsidetav.com

Tuesday, April 29th - Louisville, KY
Venue: Clovene
Address: 203 Pope St.
Start time: 7:30 
No cover

The rest of the week we will be busking at the Kentucky Derby...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" Soundtrack



Hello everybody,

  We are very pleased to announce that the Down Hill Strugglers has a song on the soundtrack to the new film by the Coen Brothers, "Inside Llewyn Davis."  Its track #8 on the soundtrack album, a great old folk song called "The Roving Gambler" that we first recorded a couple of years ago for our Folkways record.  We are joined on this song by our great friend, mentor and ofttimes bandmate John Cohen (of the New Lost City Ramblers). 

  The film is really good.  It's set in the Greenwich Village folk music scene in 1961 and is loosely based on parts of the autobiography of the great folk and blues singer Dave van Ronk.  (If you look closely in the film you can see a photograph of our bandmate Jackson Lynch hanging on the wall in the background of a scene in a music promoters office!)  Its great to see the Coen Brothers do another folk music based movie as a kind of followup to "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" although the films are very different.

  We are honored that our song was included on this collection, which is set for release on Nov. 11th.  The film itself comes out in mid December.  Other musicians on the album include the amazing and versatile Punch Brothers, Marcus Mumford (without his Sons) and noted folk singer Justin Timberlake.  The album was recorded and produced by T Bone Burnett.

  More information is available at the Nonesuch Records website.

  If you are interested in what's going on in the New York City folk music scene today, the heart of the scene is centered at the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn.  Come down on a Wednesday night for the "Roots n Ruckus" show.  Its free, they pass the hat for the musicians.  Its the best place to see the current folk music scene at work.  Also check out the Brooklyn Folk Festival and Washington Square Park Folk Festival, both organized by Down Hill Strugglers band member Eli Smith.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Interview on Brooklyn Based

Here is a very nice article from the "Brooklyn Based" blog about Down Hill Struggler Eli Smith.  Please visit their website, brooklynbased.com for the complete article including all links, audio, etc.

The Down Hill Strugglers Revive Old-Time Folk For a New Generation
The Down Hill Strugglers (Down Home Radio)
The Down Hill Strugglers Photo: Down Home Radio

It seems like 31-year-old banjo player Eli Smith was destined to play old-time folk music. He grew up in Greenwich Village–the epicenter of the 1960s folk revival boom. His parents–who are left-wing political activists–exposed him to the folk sounds of giants like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. But it wasn’t until he listened to music by the likes of bluesman Mississippi John Hurt and The New Lost City Ramblers, an old-time string band,  as a teenager that he started to seek the sources behind that old-time roots sound.

“It was the first music that really spoke to me,” he says. “I never heard any folk music on the radio and never saw it on TV. But when I started to finally find it for myself and hear the authentic sound of the vanished rural American music, that was the sound that really spoke to me, the feeling that I was looking for. That was the music that I loved.”



Smith is one of the members of the Brooklyn old-time string group, the Down Hill Strugglers, along with fellow multi-instrumentalists Walker Shepard and Jackson Lynch. Formerly known as the Dust Busters, the Down Hill Strugglers perform traditional authentic roots music. Their latest album, Show Me the Way To Go Home, was released in October; and their performance of the traditional folk tune, “The Roving Gambler,” appears on the soundtrack of the new Joel and Ethan Coen film, Inside Llewyn Davis.

“I’m personally hoping to reform the notion of folk music,” says Smith. “I think it’s become very corrupt where people think folk music is just singer-songwriters or somebody idly strumming on a guitar. So what I want to bring people [is] some culture that really has deep roots and is very rich and diverse.”

If the music on Show Me the Way to Go Home sounds authentically rustic as if it was coming from a 78

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Some Upcoming Shows


Hello everybody,

Happy Holidays and New Years to you!

The Down Hill Strugglers have a few shows coming up in the New Year:

Wed. Jan. 22nd
Roots n Ruckus @
The Jalopy Theatre
315 Columbia St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231
www.Jalopy.biz
10pm

Fri. Feb. 7th
Brooklyn Rod and Gun Club
Kent. Ave btwn N. 10th and 11th
Brooklyn
9pm

Wed. Feb 19th:
Opening for Steve Earle
The City Winery
155 Varick St, New York, NY 10013
www.citywinery.com


Sat. March 8th:
Brooklyn Folk Festival Preview/Benefit Concert
w/ Windham Baird and Piedmont Bluz
The Jalopy Theatre
315 Columbia St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231
www.Jalopy.biz
Starts at 9pm, we go on at 11pm.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Album and CD Release Show Announced!

Hello everybody,

We are very pleased to announce the release of our new CD "Show Me the Way to Go Home" which we recorded with our good friend Pat Conte of the Canebrake Ratters, the Secret Museum of Mankind, etc. 

This CD is the second volume of our "Home Recordings" series. Like so many of our favorite "field recordings" of the past, it was recorded informally and totally live around 2 good mics, it came out great and we are very proud!  To hear samples from the new record, go to: www.soundcloud.com

We will be playing a "CD release" show with Pat Conte at the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn, NY on Sunday Nov. 17th at 8pm. Come if you can! Eva Salina will open the show, she is an amazing balkan singer!

Sunday Nov. 17th at 8pm
Jalopy Theatre
315 Columbia St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231
www.Jalopy.biz

See below for liner notes...



The CD is available for download at: www.cdbaby.com, on iTunes and Amazon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Show Me the Way to Go Home" Liner Notes

Here's some liner notes for our new album, "Show Me the Way to Go Home," including who plays what on each song and where applicable some artists whose historic recordings have been inspirations and sources for our own versions. This album was recorded in a “field recording” style somewhere in Brooklyn in the Spring of 2013. Recorded by Eli Smith.

1. Forked Deer
Walker - fiddle
Jackson - fiddle
Eli - banjo
Inspirational source recordings by Taylor’s Kentucky Boys and Sidna Myers

2. Arkansas Pullet
Walker - fiddle, vocal
Jackson - guitar
Eli - pump organ
Pat - percussion
Inspirational source recording by Reeve’s White County Ramblers

3. Fate of Santa Barbara
Walker - banjo-guitar, vocal
Jackson - fiddle
Eli - pump organ
Inspirational source recording by Bascom Lamar Lunsford

4. Goodbye My Honey
Walker - fiddle, vocal
Jackson - fiddle, vocal
Eli - banjo-uke, vocal
Pat - banjo, lead vocal
Inspirational source recording by Booth Campbell

5. Molly Hare
Walker - fiddle
Jackson - fiddle
Pat - guitar, vocal
Eli - guitar
Inspirational source recording by The Carter Brothers & Son (just the style, not the song)

6. New Bright Land
Walker - banjo, lead vocal
Jackson - guitar, vocal
Eli - pump organ
Inspirational source recording by Lethia Eller, “The Heavenly Light Is Shining On Me”