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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - Cosmic Banjo
Artist - Michael Johnathon

For those unaware, renowned and beloved folksinger Michael Johnathon takes the banjo seriously on Cosmic Banjo, his 18th studio album due out February 11st, 2022 on PoetMan Records.

A celebration of the Pete Seeger style long neck banjo, Cosmic Banjo is the unexpected follow up to his Vincent van Gogh tribute album The Painter and will be available across all major music platforms.

1. Ballad of Bojangles
2. In the Evening
3. MoonFire
4. How Can I Keep from Singing
5. Darlin’ Corey
6. The Baghdad Breakdown
7. Blue Skies
8. East Virginia Blues
9. Ban-Jokes
10. Cosmic Banjo
11. Summertime

On an album that also features several Bluegrass and roots music icons who collaborated with Johnathon in the studio, the opening track is a masterfully reimagined backstory found within Ballad of Bojangles (made famous by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and where here on this new cut founding member John McEuen plays mandolin) and that is followed by the laid back, lonesome sun-setting ode within In the Evening, Michael’s unusual picking style (using a normal thumb pick, plus a metal pick on the first finger, but the second pick is upside down; a style pioneered by folk icon Pete Seeger) truly coming to the fore on the ornately sculptured instrumental MoonFire.

A live version of the orchestrally magnificent storytelling within How Can I Keep from Singing is a pure, unadulterated joy to behold and that is backed by the more fervent picking and frailing styling he is widely known for of Darlin’ Corey (where John McEuen once again joins in, along with a 21-piece string section and 17-time IBMA award winner Rob Ickes also performing), then comes the Eastern-imbed instrumental The Baghdad Breakdown, and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the atmospherically-driven charms of Irving Berlin’s Bue Skies.

Along next is the yawning landscape that unfolds before us, from the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, all found within the harmoniously layered East Virginia Blues, the album rounding out with a live version of Ban-Jokes (Here’s a song all about my deep devotion and love to the banjo), coming to a close with the cinematic instrumental title track, Cosmic Banjo, and although not listed on the back cover, a simply stunning live version of George Gershwin’s Summertime (Here’s a song that you’ll rarely hear on a banjo. It’s an aria from a wonderful opera called Porgy and Bess).

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Michael Johnathon @ Facebook