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Butch Baldassari and Van Manakas - Leavin' Tennessee

By Mandolin Cafe
July 19, 2010 - 9:00 am

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Butch Baldassari and VanManakas -  Leavin' Tennessee

Butch Baldassari and VanManakas - Leavin' Tennessee

Nashville, Tenn. — One of the last projects completed before Butch Baldassari's untimely death, Leavin' Tennessee pairs the late master of the mandolin with longtime guitar picking colleague Van Manakas on an extra-long set of right-in-the-groove bluegrass instrumentals to be released in August on SoundArt Recordings.

Backed by bassist Byron House (Sam Bush Band, Robert Plant) and Scott Vestal on banjo, the duo focuses on an elegant set of old favorites and Manakas originals, with additional brilliance supplied by a rotating cast of fiddlers that includes the incomparable Stuart Duncan, Shad Cobb, Barbara Lamb and even the legendary Bobby Hicks.

Whether they're tearing it up on the hard-driving Fiddler's Dream, laying down some funky acoustic blues on Bossman, gliding through the Fine Waltz or dishing up a deliciously fresh reading of Kenny Baker's classic Bluegrass In The Backwoods, the virtuosity, creativity, tastefulness and intuitive empathy of this remarkable group of musicians is undeniable—and undeniably pleasing.

Leavin' Tennessee
Bell Buckle Belle
Fine Waltz
Cotton Patch Rag
Fiddler's Dream
Jacob's Ladder
Bitter Creek
Red Bone
Old South Waltz
Lucky from Kentucky
I Am A Pilgrim
Bluegrass in the Backwoods
Indian Echo
Spider Waltz
Yellow Barber

Additional information:
Purchase: From
SoundArt Recordings


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Reader Comments

July 19, 2010 08:59 AM
This looks cool. First became aware of Van on Jack Tottle's excellent Rounder release Back Road Mandolin.
Skip Kelley
July 19, 2010 09:58 AM
That is so amazingly awesome!!! Butch had told me of the project he was working on. After he passed, I didn't give it a thought. Now, this is very exciting news!!
Man of Wax
July 19, 2010 10:14 AM
Wonderful news. Butch's style is inspiring, and Scott Vestal is one of my favorite five-finger players. I don't know Van Manakas's playing, but Butch would not cut a CD with just anyone; and, of course, the crop of fiddlers is very fine. I hope this will be available as an mp3 download on Amazon or iTunes.
July 19, 2010 02:12 PM
While I only "knew" Butch from his Homespun lessons, I got to meet Van and see him play up-close at a Barbara Lamb show in Livingston, NJ, in 10/08. Great player! It'll seem like along wait 'til this one comes out!
Ken Holland
November 20, 2010 01:20 PM
I just bought this on EMusic and it is just wonderful. Nice, tight instrumentals that just flow from one to the other and these guys sound like they enjoyed doing it.
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