If American old-time music is about embracing earlier, simpler ways of life and music-making, then Abigail Washburn is a bracing revelation to that tradition. The singing, songwriting, Chinese-banjo player pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Exhibit A: Her album City of Refuge, where, tucked in among picked and sung modal melodies, you’ll find songs with catchy hooks and grooves—and even the playful pop phrase, “Hey, hey, hey.” Washburn, who gave a moving 2012 TED talk on the connections she’s formed touring America and China with her banjo, heads a lineup of stellar and diverse strummers in Town Hall’s inaugural bow to the banjo, including Kane Mathis, who plays the Mandinka kora; Mary Ohno, who plays the shamisen (and shares her set with half a dozen or so of her adult shamisen students); and, serenading in the lobby before the concert and during intermission, Kevin Johnston of the famed Seattle Banjo Club with a four-string. Presented by Town Hall as part of its Global Rhythms series. Series media sponsorship provided by KBCS 91.3 FM and KEXP.
Advance tickets are $18/$17 seniors/$15 Town Hall members/$10 for students with ID, at www.townhallseattle.org or 888/377-4510; $20/$18/$17 at the door;$5 rush for students with ID 15 minutes before showtime. Town Hall members receive priority seating. Great Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue.
Other Global Rhythms, Music Events
Friday, September 19, 2014, 8:00 – 10:00pm
Great Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue. $5-$25.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 7:30 – 9:30pm
Great Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue. Season subscriptions on sale now!
Saturday, October 18, 2014, 11:00 – 11:45am
Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. Free- $5.