Progressive. Pioneer. Envelope pusher. CFO. These are some of the many terms that have been used to describe banjo innovator, producer and record company owner, Alison Brown. And now, she adds “early adopter” to the list with the release of a 360 video shot during recording sessions at Compass Sound Studios, home of the record label she co-founded in 1996.
Her 2015 release THE SONG OF THE BANJO featured re-imaginings of pop songs like “Time After Time” and “Dance With Me”, celebrity guests like Colin Hay, the Indigo Girls, and Steve Gadd, as well as Jake Shimabukuro on a totally unexpected version of “Feels So Good” originally by Chuck Mangione. And now she is releasing a 360 video of the recording session for “What’s Going On?” featuring the vocals of Keb’ Mo’.
A recent article in No Depression does an excellent job of explaining what it means to pursue musical exploration within the bluegrass tradition and why it’s almost revolutionary to play soul music on the banjo.
The solo at 3:14 in the video does an excellent job of illustrating the technical and artistic mastery that Alison Brown has achieved on the banjo.
“I’ve always thought of “What’s Going On?” as a sacred, almost untouchable song but given recent world events I believe the message is just as timely as when Marvin Gaye penned it in 1971,” says Alison. “I reached out to Keb’ Mo’ about the idea of collaborating on a banjo-driven version of the song and he was so enthusiastic about the idea he said he’d be there the next day to record it. I love the fact that our version gives “What’s Going On?” a new life in the world of Americana and roots music.”
“What’s Going On?” was originally only available as a bonus track through iTunes but will now be available on all download and streaming services, August 31st.