Little Black Train CD Release Party

Little Black Train: The Roots of Bluegrass.
Little Black Train: The Roots of Bluegrass.

Old-time bluegrass band Little Black Train will be performing at a CD release party on Saturday, February 6 at the Red Barn in Los Osos. In the tradition of the golden age of radio, they will also perform live on KCBX 90.1 FM at about 3:00 PM, during Song Town with Sonnie Brown. Listeners outside the area can hear the broadcast streaming live at http://www.kcbx.org.

LISTEN: Take Your Leg Off Mine

With an all-star lineup of veteran string wizards Kenny Blackwell, John Weed, and Stuart Mason (and a surprise guest or two), the band will perform vintage fiddle tunes and old-time songs from their new release “Little Black Train.”  From Depression-era gospel to Appalachian and and Celtic dance tunes, they explore the roots of bluegrass that date back to the nineteenth century and earlier. They employ the time-honored “folk process” to combine new words and melodies with traditional songs from sources such as the Carter Family, Doc Boggs, and Bob Dylan. The new record also includes fiddle tunes from archival sources in West Virginia, Ireland, and Scotland.

LISTEN: Lady Hamilton Dalrymple’s Strathspey, The Old Falls of Richmond

The Red Barn Community Music Series is a monthly concert series showcasing local, regional, and national musicians performing old time, bluegrass, swing, Celtic, blues, and other forms of acoustic roots music. The Red Barn is located at 2180 Palisades Ave in Los Osos. The show begins at 7:00 PM with pot luck supper and pot luck band starting at 6:00 PM. No tickets are required but suggested donation is $10 at the door. BYOB and a dish to share for the pot luck supper. More info: 805-528-4530.

Central Coast Americana Festival

Central Coast Americana Festival

Little Black Train will perform at the First Annual Central Coast Americana Festival on Sunday January 17, 2010 from 5-8 PM at Apple Farm Inn in San Luis Obispo.

Come get a taste of American music and Central Coast cuisine at the First Annual Central Coast Americana Festival presented by the Boutique Hotel Collection. From January 14-17, we will feature a variety of culinary, cultural and musical events at five different venues around the beautiful Central Coast. For a full schedule of events, go to http://sloamericanafestival.com.

Among many others, scheduled folk/Americana bands include the Jody Mulgrew Trio, Whiskey Chimp, Little Black Train, Kenny Blackwell and Dorian Michael, and Bob & Wendy. A portion of the proceeds from The Americana Festival 2010 (including all CD sales) go to The Hospice of San Luis Obispo County Supportive Music Program.

Little Black Train

Little Black Train
Little Black Train

Little Black Train is an exciting new project for Central Coast acoustic wizards John Weed (fiddle), Kenny Blackwell (mandolin), and Stuart Mason (guitar). Named after a traditional Carter Family gospel song, the group fuses old-time Americana with Celtic and original pieces to produce a crowd-pleasing mix of “oldternative” bluegrass music. Weed and Mason are both members of international touring Celtic band Molly’s Revenge. Both have performed at festivals in China, Scotland, Ireland, and many of the United States, while Kenny tours regularly with guitarist Dorian Michael.

Little Black Train

Mandolinist Kenny Blackwell, who studied with the legendary Jethro Burns, has been a fixture in the West Coast bluegrass scene since the late ’80s. He is known for his extensive studio work on various projects, as well as his collaborations with progressive fiddler Richard Greene and his membership in the Laurel Canyon Ramblers, a legendary California bluegrass outfit.

An accomplished fiddler across genres, John Weed has lived in Ireland and immersed himself in the traditional styles of Clare and Donegal.  The result is an old-time Irish fiddling style that compliments his forays into bluegrass, swing, and other American music. A classically trained violinist, John leverages his understanding of the instrument to wrestle every last bit of tone and emotion from each piece he performs.

Guitarist Stuart Mason is known for his authentic vocals, melodic mandola, and inability to hold his whiskey. A native of West Virginia, Stuart has won awards for traditional singing (Goleta Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention), mandola (Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest), and songwriting (West Coast Songwriter’s Association).  In July a song from his solo release “Appalachian Bride” was selected from among 286 entries to appear on the first New Times Music Awards Compilation CD.

Live Tracks with John Weed

John Weed and Stuart Mason played a concert at Painted Sky Studios in Cambria, California on November 9, 2008, when these live tracks were recorded. Enjoy!

LISTEN: The Abbey Set (MP3)

LISTEN: Kenny Wagoner (MP3)

LISTEN: The Old Bush Set (MP3)

Stuart Mason and John Weed
Stuart Mason and John Weed

A classically trained violinist, John Weed leverages his understanding of the instrument to wrestle every last bit of tone and emotion from each piece he performs. Stuart Mason is known for his strong, rhythmic guitar backup style using both standard and alternate tunings, and his “oldternative” songs are deeply rooted in the mountain tradition.

John Weed began his classical training on violin at the age of nine, and immediately fell in love with the instrument. Doors opened up when he went to Ireland for the first time, and as the result of a chance meeting with legendary Clare flute player Bill McNamara, John returned to Ireland the following summer to study and perform with Bill for six months. He returns annually to Ireland to recharge his batteries. The result is an authentic, rooted Irish fiddling style that compliments his forays into bluegrass, swing, and American old-time music.

Appalachian Bride

The earthy twang of a homemade banjo as it’s frailed in the old mountain style. The ringing song of a wood thrush from deep in a West Virginia laurel thicket. The slap of leather soles on a hardwood dance floor at the local parish hall.

Appalachian Bride
Appalachian Bride

Stuart Mason sings a mixture of traditional American music and original “oldternative” songs that take the listener on an autobiographical journey deep into the West Virginia mountains of his birthplace. Stuart is also known to Celtic music fans as the guitar and mandola player in hard-working band Molly’s Revenge. He has appeared on stage from Ireland to China performing traditional Celtic, old time bluegrass, and his original songs.

His solo release Appalachian Bride features his award-winning traditional singing on original and traditional pieces with acoustic guitar, mandolin, and clawhammer banjo. Blazing fiddlers Gilles Apap, James Wimmer, and John Weed lend a hand, as well as Jonas Richardson on harmonica, Duane Inglish on accordion, and Bruce Powers on hammered dulcimer. Listen to sample audio clips on CD Baby and MySpace.