Carolina Chimes: Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase

OUT NOW: Released October 5, 2018 on Foxfire Recording

Available Now On All Outlets→ http://smarturl.it/2pryj6

Rudi Ekstein has been in the music business for many years as a performer, producer, and studio owner. Now, on his album Carolina Chimes: Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase, released October 5, on Foxfire Recording, Ekstein showcases his mandolin prowess on 12 original instrumental tunes featuring an all-star cast of world-class talent. Some of the artists brought into the studio for this project include multi-GRAMMY Award Winner Stuart Duncan on fiddle and renowned guitarist Jeff Autry for the entire album, two time IBMA Bass Player of the Year Mark Schatz performs on all but one tune, long-time collaborator John Plotnik plays banjo on the majority of the album and steps in on Dobro on four tracks while GRAMMY nominated multi instrumentalist, Patrick Sauber takes the lead on banjo. Bluegrass Today premiered the first single off the album, “Spikebuck.”

With Carolina Chimes as Ekstein has put together an upbeat collection of bluegrass barn burners performed with great pickers who help to bring these unique cuts to life. Unselfish and smart, Ekstein lets his collaborators do what they do best here. The result is a fast-paced recording that will remind you of the power of bluegrass music.

“The most obvious parts of everyone’s life have been depicted in a bluegrass song,” says Ekstein. “The bluegrass tunes I’ve written for my records over the  past 30 or so years are mostly named after people, events, or something important that happened in my life. That’s just part of my love for bluegrass.”

As the son of an Austrian immigrant to America his surname, Ekstein, translates, literally, to “Cornerstone,” which is the aptly titled opening track to the album, symbolizing his heritage and love of the genre. Another song on Carolina Chimes that reflects that philosophy is “Jessy’s Fancy,” named for Ekstein’s daughter.

Many of the tunes on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s travels in this world, from his early years living in California and exploring the American West, to settling down in the western North Carolina mountain town of Asheville.

“Hoot Owl Hop” was written from his days of living in California when the warm summer nights brought hoot owls to the eucalyptus trees every year. The perfect title for a wild ride of a tune, ‘Spikebuck,’ refers to the name of some rapids on the Arkansas River in Colorado where his family, barely hanging on, took a fast-moving whitewater rafting trip one year. “Back Drag” was named after an insane stunt Ekstein once attempted for the first and last time as a trick rider on a galloping horse in his youth.

About a decade ago, Ekstein relocated to Asheville, where he continues to run the Foxfire Recording Studio (started in 1990), so he could play more bluegrass with western North Carolina roots musician, Billy Constable, for whom this album is dedicated. Constable, who passed away in 2015 of cancer, was best known for his three-finger-picking banjo technique and his vigorous acoustic guitar leads.

A couple of songs on this project were written in Constable’s memory including, “‘Bacon in the Pan,’ Rudi’s version of an old-time fiddle tune done in the bluegrass style as, Rudi recalls, “Billy often spoke endlessly on the phone about the fine points of cooking a good breakfast, and ‘All Night in Kentucky’ is a tune I wrote after jamming all night long at the IBMA convention in Louisville, KY, with Billy. Inspired by that experience, I just couldn’t stop pickin’ on that early morning and I spontaneously ended up playing this tune.”

A couple of songs on this project were written in Constable’s memory including, “‘Bacon in the Pan,’ Rudi’s version of an old-time fiddle tune done in the bluegrass style as, Rudi recalls, “Billy often spoke endlessly on the phone about the fine points of cooking a good breakfast, and ‘All Night in Kentucky’ is a tune I wrote after jamming all night long at the IBMA convention in Louisville, KY, with Billy. Inspired by that experience, I just couldn’t stop pickin’ on that early morning and I spontaneously ended up playing this tune.”

Other cuts on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s many musical influences. “I always thought ‘Indian Rain’ would be a good song for an old fashioned western movie. Too bad it was 60 years too late. Turned out to be a better bluegrass fiddle tune, especially with Stuart Duncan at the Helm. In the late 1980’s, I recorded my song ‘Flapjack’ while playing Dobro for a band project,” says Ekstein. “I originally wrote it on the Dobro as a tune for the mandolin. I finally made it a reality here on this album. And, that brings me to the album’s title cut, ‘Carolina Chimes.’ I’ve always loved the classic banjo tunes that featured the sound of arpeggio chimes created by banjo and mandolin duets. It reminds me of bells ringing at an old Carolina country church house.”

Carolina Chimes Track Listing

1. Cornerstone   (2:41)
2. Indian Rain   (3:21)
3. All Night in Kentucky  (2:48)
4. Hoot Owl Hop   (2:52)
5. Jessy’s Fancy   (3:54)
6. Spikebuck   (2:04)
7. Flapjack   (3:31)
8. Bacon in the Pan   (2:28)
9. Rockalachia   (2:35)
10. Carolina Chimes   (2:26)
11. Dixie Sunset   (2:39 )
12. Back Drag   (1:50)

The Musicians on Carolina Chimes include:

Stuart Duncan – Fiddle (all tracks)
Jeff Autry – Guitar (all tracks)
Mark Schatz – Upright Bass (all tracks except 9)
Rob Parks – Upright Bass (9)
John Plotnik – Banjo (1,2,3,7,10,12), Dobro (4,5,6,8)
Patrick Sauber – Banjo (4,5,6,8)
Seth Rhinehart – Banjo (9,11)
Rudi Ekstein – Mandolin (all tracks)
All tunes written by Rudi Ekstein, BMI, Carolina Chimes Music, P & C 2018
Produced by Rudi Ekstein.  Recorded and Mixed by Rudi Ekstein
Rudi has owned and operated his own commercial recording studio business Foxfire Recording since 1990, and since then has played for, or produced and/or engineered numerous albums for CMH, Rounder, Sugar Hill Records, as well as artists like Tony Rice, Larry Rice, Chris Hillman, Josh Graves, David Grisman, Richard Greene, Bill Keith, David Grier, Herb Pedersen, Bill Bryson, and other notables. His array of recording and live performance credits include many internationally known bluegrass musicians like fiddle players Byron Berline and Gabe Witcher; banjo hotshots John Hickman, Dennis Caplinger, and Craig Smith; gifted Dobro player, Rob Ickes, The Nashville Bluegrass Band’s GRAMMY award winning bass player, Gene Libbea; an original Bluegrass Cardinal bass player Bill Bryson; as well as three members of the Country Boys (later the Kentucky Colonels), bass man Eric White, banjo player, Billy Ray Lathum, and Dobro player, Leroy Mack among many others.
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