Jon Stickley Trio’s ‘Lost at Last’ Features Flatpicking Guitar, Violin & Drums
Rapid-fire Flatpicking Guitar
Combined with Melodious, Sultry and Wild Violin
And Deep Groove Drums
ASHEVILLE — Jon Stickley Trio independently released a 2nd album, Lost at Last, on October 6, 2015. The originality and sheer energy of this genre-bending ensemble serves as a welcome wake up call for those who experience it. With roots in gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and hip-hop, Jon Stickley Trio combines Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett (Futureman) on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage (Atmosphere) on drums. The three have fused their collective styles into a repertoire of exciting and innovative original music along with some captivating covers.
The New York Times’ Nate Chinen writes “… there’s hardy cohesion among the players — no less on the Gypsy standard ‘Valse de Wasso’ than on ‘Darth Radar’ a turbocharged original with a ska upbeat and a shredding melody. And when Mr. Stickley and friends turn to bluegrass, as on ‘The High Road,’ by Tim O’Brien, they sound both respectful and free.”
Lost at Last was recorded in the band’s hometown of Asheville, NC at the iconic Echo Mountain Studios under the watchful eye of producer Dave King (The Bad Plus). While recording the album, King referred to the band’s imaginative sound as “this whole other thing.” King’s creative energy and inspired musical approach led the band deeper and deeper into the heart of their musical consciousness, which led to the solidification of their musical identity.
“Working with our producer Dave King was a life changing experience for us all,” says Stickley. “He is an intense, master musician, but also a hilarious, life-loving, positive, HEAVY, ‘unimpeachable’, inspiring dude! He helped us find ourselves, and his mark on the album is undeniable.” Jon goes on to say, “We succeeded in capturing a lot of spontaneous energy.”
Fan-funded through Kickstarter, Lost at Last features eleven tracks including six original tunes. It opens with ”Point-to-Point,” a song that could sum up the Trio’s personality, ranging from delicate syncopated pizzicato interplay to a powerful electo-rock climax featuring Jon’s distinctive flat-picking style. “Darth Radar” is already a crowd favorite at the Trio’s live shows; it was originally inspired by the modern dubstep artists, Skrillex and deadmau5, but over time has settled into an upbeat groove, with elements of ska and the fleet single string tremolo one might hear from Dick Dale, and other surf guitar gods. “Rice Dream,” is Jon’s subtle prayer for Tony Rice, who is one of his biggest musical influences. The song highlights Jon’s nimble picking style and soft harmonic chimes as well as the haunting beauty of Lyndsay’s violin.
Other tracks include the hypnotically enchanting “Goa,” penned by Pruett on the shores of the Indian Ocean, the cinematic and neoclassical “Octapickin,” in which Pruett’s beautiful string arrangements and improvisations take the listener through an emotional dreamscape, and the relaxing and poetic “Pamlico Sound.”
Lost at Last features a handful of covers including The Bad Plus’ “Never Stop”, Tim O’Brien’s “The High Road,” set to a grooving half time feel and break beat reprise, held down by Patrick Armitage on the drums. Lost at Last also features a ‘Stickley” version ofStrength in Numbers’ “Slopes” (written by Bela Fleck, Mark O’Connor). The record also includes a traditional gypsy jazz waltz, “Valse de Wasso,”and ends with “Flight of the Durban,” penned by Stickley’s longtime friend Leftover Salmon’s banjo ripper Andy Thorn.
In their short time together, Jon Stickley Trio has shared the stage with Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Larry Keel, and Leon Russell, amongst others. They have thrilled audiences at some of the nation’s top festivals including MerleFest, Floydfest, and Four Corners Folk Fest. Billy Nershi (String Cheese Incident) says, “I’ve had the pleasure of playing with Jon onstage and off. He always plays something I didn’t think was possible.”
This virtuosic band’s experimental compositions are not easily confined, yet remain true to the players’ musical roots lending to an accessible and danceable sound. “The inspiration of blending the rhythmic, fast-paced techniques of bluegrass with songs from the other end of the musical spectrum led to the formation of Stickley’s eponymous trio,” writes Alli Marshall with Asheville’s Mountain Xpress. Through the recording of Lost at Last, the band has honed their fiery, yet sensitive sound to create something that is uniquely the Jon Stickley Trio.
Kind words about Lost at Last:
“Jon Stickley is a guitarist based in Asheville, N.C., and rooted in the flatpicking bluegrass tradition, the quicksilver dialect of Tony Rice and Norman Blake. But in the Jon Stickley Trio, with the fiddler Lyndsay Pruett and the drummer Patrick Armitage, he also bounces around in Gypsy jazz, folk-punk and jam-band territory, tracing a fidgety continuity of style.” –The New York Times, Nate Chinen
“With Lost at Last, the Jon Stickley Trio combine the ethos of a newgrass power trio with the energy and dynamics of a runaway train. Stickley’s powerful flatpicking gathers influences from the greats such as Tony Rice, but also allows for other, more modern, sounds to creep in. ‘Darth Radar’ is a rapid-fire take that moves from a serious ska beat to burning surf-style runs that would make Dick Dale proud.” –Premier Guitar, Jason Shadrick (CLICK TO LISTEN TO THE ‘Darth Radar” SONG PREMIER)
“Blending elements of traditional, fast paced bluegrass with sultry backings in jazz and raging hip hop beats, Lost at Last is an album not to be missed.” –Performer Mag, Kate Dennis-Skillings
“A force to be reckoned with…” –Martin Anderson, Music Director & Host at WNCW
“This is very very cool music. Jon’s ideas on the acoustic guitar are the freshest of the fresh. Lost at Last is rated BA: Bad. Ass.” –Larry Keel, Guitar Legend & Master Fisherman
“Probably the best thing about reviewing music is finding artists I’ve never heard of and falling in love… When I first put on Jon Stickley Trio’s sophomore album, Lost at Last, I listened for a few minutes and thought, ‘that’s bold–opening with an instrumental.’ I dig it. I soon learned it was an album of sell-your-soul-to-the-devil quality picking instrumentals.” –Grateful Music, Dan Fugate
“At the unlikely intersection of Bluegrass, Jazz and Punk lies the Jon Stickley Trio. A true fusion of American music, this virtuosic trio exploded onto the landscape, leaving listeners scratching their heads, wondering what exactly it was they were hearing, and desperate for the next song to begin. For their second record, Lost at Last, JS3 has, like an open-wheel, open cockpit-race car, abandoned anything frivolous or unnecessary, and this stripped-down, streamlined JS3 is built for speed, dangerous as hell, and irresistible.” –Travis Book, The Infamous Stringdusters