Jeff Picker, acclaimed Nashville-based bassist for Ricky Skaggs, Mark O’Connor, Sarah Jarosz, and others, has announced the October 9th release of With the Bass in Mind, his debut solo effort.
The music on this album represents the intersection of Picker’s musical worlds. Highly trained as a jazz player, and steeped in the jazz traditions of improvisation and harmonic exploration, he fell in love with bluegrass and roots music in his college years, drawn in by the rhythmic intensity, lyricism, and its unique and demanding musical stylings. With this album, he’s taken what he loves from each; the format and style of bluegrass with some unique harmonic, metric, and improvisational aspects thrown in. The result is listenable, melodic, and grooving music that has a bit of intrigue.
All of the tracks are original compositions, written, arranged, and produced by Picker. As the title implies, the music was written not explicitly to feature the bass, but with an enhanced role for the bass in mind. The record features a stellar cast of Nashville’s young instrumental stars: Mike Barnett on fiddle, Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Jake Stargel on guitar, and special guest Cory Walker on banjo (2 tracks). These musicians share Picker’s deep love of the bluegrass style and his desire to build upon it. The album was engineered by Brent Truitt, mandolinist of GRAMMY-winning band, The Steeldrivers, and veteran studio engineer. It was mastered by Randy LeRoy, another paragon of the style.
Listen to “Perennial,” which showcases each of the players’ improvisations while creating the feeling of a scene from a melancholy daydream, on repeat:
Picker is currently Nashville based, where he can be heard frequently on the Grand Ole Opry. His debut album, in his words, “reimagines the contemporary string band, while never straying too far from the front porch.”
With the Bass in Mind Tracklist:
Disturbance in the Kitchen
Rooster in the Tire Well
Chair in the Sun
Hat Creek Outfit
Ground Delay Waltz
A King’s Peace