Jayme Stone's Lomax Project
An acetate disc-cutter and cactus needle stylus. The rutted roads of eastern Kentucky and the Georgia Sea Island coastline. Kitchen din and street noise. Songs everyone has come to know— and the storied singers nearly everyone has forgotten.
These snapshots guided banjo innovator and musical instigator Jayme Stone and his collaborators—Grammy-winning songsmith Tim O’Brien, Bruce Molsky, Margaret Glaspy, Moira Smiley, Brittany Haas, Julian Lage, Eli West and more—on a years’ long journey to research and recast nineteen carefully chosen songs collected by iconic American folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax. “I’m not a preservationist,” Stone emphasizes. “We’re here to renew this material.”
The material in question—sea shanties, cowboy ballads, ox- driving songs, Southern spirituals—helped shape the mid-century folk revival and more recent Americana. Stone and company have delved into the vast, worldwide trove of Lomax recordings and found a deeply emotional access to these tunes and songs on Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project (Borealis Records; release: March 3, 2015).
The songs hail from sea captains, cowhands, fishermen, homemakers, prisoners and farmers: “extraordinary, everyday folks making homemade, handmade music,” Stone notes. Homemade does not mean quaint or precious, however. This is intense music, drawing on sometimes harsh, sometimes bittersweet experience. From Appalachia to Trinidad, rural communities to juke joints, the musicians we have forgotten reverberate in Stone and company’s beautiful renditions.