Banjo Star Matt Morelock Listens to a Lot of Banjo Music

Local banjo authority Matt Morelock—he plays banjo, runs a downtown music shop that sells banjos, and even visited China as a sort of banjo ambassador in 2007—and his band the Bearded are playing at Preservation Pub on Wednesday, July 14. Here's the music that Morelock's been listening to to get ready.

The Jolly Boys

Sunshine N' Water (Rykodisc, 1991)

The Jolly Boys are a Jamaican calypso band. Jamaican calypso is called mentio music; it's banjo-led calypso from post-World War II Jamaica. This is good summertime music.

Morgan Sexton

Shady Grove (June Appal, 1995)

Morgan Sexton is a now-deceased, very idiosyncratic banjoist from eastern Kentucky. He had such a unique style that it's almost impossible to emulate him. He was a coal miner and played when he was young and hung up his banjo for 40 years, then picked it back up right before he died. Fortunately these recordings and a couple of live recordings captured him, and he's become on of those "holy grail" banjo guys.

Beck

Mutations (DGC, 1998)

I think this is one of the most interestingly produced and recorded records of the last 20 years. The different sounds and influences that weave throughout the CD are spectacular. So good. This is one of my top-five records to take to a desert island.