Opening Roll – Spectrum

with Mark Schatz, Glen Lawson, and Jimmy Gaudreau

Label: Rounder

When Tasty Licks disbanded in 1981, Mark Schatz and I spent a summer playing in the street in Harvard Square. Then an opportunity presented itself for us to move to Kentucky and play with Jimmy and Glenn, a couple of excellent musicians who had played in one of JD Crowe’s great bands. Jimmy was also in the Country Gentlemen, and the Second Generation among other groups. I was particularly keen to avoid being pegged as simply a wild northern banjoist, and wanted the experience of being part of JD’s world. JD is still one of the most powerful traditional banjo players, although his bands have certainly had progressive elements. Being in this band gave me the opportunity to live in his town and get to know and study him, and connect with the bluegrass community in Lexington and Louisville, generally focusing in on the traditional side. Ironically, Spectrum was not really a trad band at all, although we maintained some of JD’s template. We did lots of originals, swing, offbeat instrumentals, and pop covers, as well as some bluegrass standards.