The Mandolin Cafe is streaming some tracks from the new Joe Craven Trio album. It’s worth a listen. If I’m not careful, I may get cited by the Bluegrass Police for this one, it’s a little outside the genre. OK so maybe a little is an understatement, but Joe Craven can play some Mandolin, in addition to mouth percussion and all that crazy other stuff he plays like the Jawbone (see video below).
This new album is a nice jazzy mandolin centric effort.It’s hard to categorize for obvious reasons, it’s Joe Craven, the Bluegrass equivalent of a spider monkey. It stretches out in places and remains compact and tight in others. It’s a nice mix of styles that holds together as a single album nicely, like a crazy pair of patchwork pants hanging on a dancing hippy’s hips, you’re not quite sure how they are staying up and sewn together but by golly they do! It’s a nice surprise.
My favorite track so far seems to be Monkey Biz which sounds like Jethro Burns jamming with Chick Corea, which are two sounds I never thought would go together, but hey,why not!
In the tune Sloppy D he does his whole “bend the neck of the mando to get a whammy bar effect.” When I saw him do that to what looked like a Loar, I almost crapped my pants right there in the front row, that takes some cajones. It literally made me sick to my stomach, but it didn’t break.
Go take a listen, in the meantime here’s a video of the jawbone… house concerts are priceless, if a bit awkward. Been there done that, gave the t-shirt to goodwill.