Watch Steep Canyon Ranger’s Paste Session From MerleFest

Music Features Steep Canyon Rangers
Watch Steep Canyon Ranger’s Paste Session From MerleFest

Paste Studio On The Road rambles on, this time to Wilkesboro, N.C., for the 36th annual MerleFest! The festival was founded in 1988 in memory of Doc Watson’s son Merle, and features “traditional plus” music, described by Doc Watson himself as, “the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play.” Watch Steep Canyon Rangers join us in our pop-up studio to herald the Carolina Sound, writing another chapter in the living history of the region and the music.

Full Session

The Rangers gave us three tunes from across their broad catalog, starting with “Come Dance,” from the 2013 album Tell The Ones I Love. Barrett Smith takes lead vocal duties, reinforced by background vocals on the choruses from mandolinist Mike Guggino and Dobro maestro Mike Ashworth, while Nicky Sanders delivers the main instrumental theme on fiddle.

“Come Dance”

After the first song, banjoist Graham Sharp describes the ways MerleFest has played a role in the history of his band, including recording their live album North Carolina Songbook live at MerleFest 2019, earning them a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. Second in their Paste Session, they dive into “Call The Captain,” from their 2020 album Be Still Moses, which was recorded with the Asheville Symphony and a special guest appearance by Boyz II Men.

“Call The Captain”

Building on the North Carolina theme, we discuss the Rangers’ 14th studio album Morning Shift, which was produced by Darrell Scott and recorded at the Hickory Nut Gap Inn in Bat Cave, N.C. Relative SRC newcomer Aaron Burdett sings the third and final song of this session, his own composition titled “Deep End,” also heard on Morning Shift.

“Deep End”

Big thanks to Steep Canyon Rangers, MerleFest, and our friends at Window World for bringing these sessions to life, and please stay tuned for more Paste x MerleFest sessions to come!

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