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Welcome to Songs for Listening, a curated site for daily playlists from musicians, agents, managers, writers, scholars, and programmers.

06-10-19 | Songs for Listening | Nathan Bowles

06-10-19 | Songs for Listening | Nathan Bowles

Nathan Bowles, an acclaimed a multi-instrumentalist & teacher living in Durham, North Carolina picked tunes for Tuesday, June 11 at Songs for Listening. Nathan’s work, both as an accomplished solo artist and as a sought-after ensemble player, explores the rugged country between the poles of Appalachian old-time traditions and ecstatic, minimalist drone. Although his recent solo recordings prominently feature his virtuosic banjo, Nathan is also widely recognized as a masterful & versatile drummer, and he considers himself first & foremost a percussionist, with banjo as a natural extension of his percussive practice.

He and his bandmates in the popular & critically acclaimed old-time group the The Black Twig Pickers steep themselves in local traditions of Appalachian folk music and dance, very much a vital part of cultural life in their region of Virginia. As a member of the long-running improvisational drone outfit Pelt, Nathan focuses on the various sonic possibilities inherent in struck and bowed percussion — metal, wood, skin, or otherwise. When playing by his lonesome under his birthname, he prefers either minimal and hyper-nuanced percussive drone or tranced-out solo clawhammer banjo. Nathan has also recorded, collaborated and performed with Steve Gunn, Jack Rose, Hiss Golden Messenger, Jake Xerxes Fussell, Rosali, Black Dirt Oak, Scott Verrastro, Pigeons, Spiral Joy Band, and others.

On his newest release, the playfully subversive 'Plainly Mistaken' (Paradise of Bachelors), Nathan extends his acclaimed banjo and percussion practice into the full-band realm for the first time, showcasing both delicate solo meditations and smoldering, swinging ensemble explorations featuring Casey Toll on bass and Rex McMurry on drums. As he considers the cycles of deceit and self-deception that shape both our personal and political lives, a mixed mood of melancholy and merriment permeates Bowles’s own compositions as well as the interpretive material, which draws from traditional Appalachian repertoires and the diverse songbooks of Julie Tippetts, Cousin Emmy and Silver Apples.

'Homesickness' by Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Gebrou from 'Ethipiques Vol. 21'
'Le Secret Blanc' by Dominique Lawalrée from 'First Meeting' 
'Watussi' by Harmonia from 'Musik Von Harmonia' 
'Sunset Glow' by Julie Tippetts
'2128 1/2' by Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society from 'Simultonality'


06-19-19 | Songs for Listening | Will Robin

06-19-19 | Songs for Listening | Will Robin

06-07-19 | Songs for Listening | James Phillips

06-07-19 | Songs for Listening | James Phillips