Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn have just released their first album together. Fleck says its main conceit was that "it would just be the two of us all the way" — and not just in the studio, either. They also wanted to tour the project properly, honorably, as a duo. But, as musicians are wont to do, Fleck says, "We really wanted to have different colors."
The resulting soundscape is painted with cello banjos, ukulele banjos and even a bass banjo borrowed from Victor Wooten. Still, Fleck says, "We ended up with a lot of songs about doom and death."
"Shotgun Blues" is a perfect example — a vengeful guilt trip of a tune, written by Washburn in response to all the old-time murder ballads that, mostly, end with a woman's death. "I've noticed that, when I'm in a bad mood, I actually find murder ballads quite uplifting," Washburn says. "Because at least I'm not the one hanging from a tree or drowning in a river."
Recorded at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, N.Y., by Beehive Productions.
Watch Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn's full Folk Alley session here.