by Geff Crawford (http://www.cbaontheweb.org):
There’s a wonderful new CD/DVD set of Dan Gellert, old-time fiddler and banjo player, put out by the Old-Time Tiki Parlour (http://oldtimetikiparlour.com/) based in Los Angeles. Dan’s fiddle and banjo style make him one of the premier old-time musicians around. I recommend this set at the highest level, whether you are already an old-time musician or fan, or just want to experience the music played at its best. I believe that Dan’s recordings are limited besides this one—two cassette albums, one with Brad Leftwich (“A Moment In Time”) and the other with his band Shoofly (“Forked Deer”), plus a CD of Dan called “Waitin’ On The Break Of Day”.
Just to get the details out of the way, this set is an audio CD of 19 fiddle and banjo tunes and songs, and a video DVD of Dan playing the tunes for all the world to see. The price is $25, with the usual disclaimer about my having any connection or financial benefit. Here are the tunes, half on banjo and half on fiddle, and yes, I know 19 is an odd number:
John Henry / Poor Rosy / Pretty Little Shoes / The Cuckoo / Nancy Dalton / Old Jimmy Sutton / Midnight / Fall On My Knees / Black-Eyed Suzy / Eph Got A Coon / Railroad Through The Rocky Mountains / Reuben / Shaking Down The Acorns / Cora Dye / Big Tennessee / Sail Away Ladies / The Girl I Left Behind Me / I’ll Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms / Raleigh & Spencer
One might ask why one would want a video of the same tunes that are on the audio CD. My answer is a long one. First, Dan’s style is iconic, masterful, and beautiful, and therefore possibly a mystery to anyone wanting to use it improve his/her own playing. The combination of audio and video gives a potential leg up to understanding that mystery.
Second, this is a wonderfully produced, recorded, and videoed set that has excellent audio and visual quality, greater than recordings or films of past (sometimes LONG past) players available online or elsewhere. The quote from Dan about how to play like he does is, “Listen to the same dead guys that I listened to.” That’s not always easy when old technology gets in the way—this set eliminates those problems. Third, Dan’s rhythm and bluesy style come across powerfully when you can actually watch him play and watch him love the music he’s making.