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Pickin' a Fight

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The banjo has been an anchor of American roots music for decades. These days, a revival of the instrument is underway in rock and other genres. Today, our Soundcheck Smackdown debate takes on an instrument that is rich with history -- and sharp opinions. Also, Grammy nominated tenor Ian Bostridge joins us in studio.

Smackdown: The Banjo

For the last half of the 20th century, the banjo didn't wander far from folk, bluegrass and the "Dueling Banjos" scene in the film Deliverance. But today, banjos are popping up in a wide variety of genres. Today: Stan Jay of the Staten Island-based instrument shop Mandolin Brothers explains the ...

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Ian Bostridge

Ian Bostridge never set out to be a globe-trotting tenor. He studied philosophy at Oxford and wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on witchcraft. Yet within five years of graduation, he was singing in London's major concert halls and releasing his first solo album. Today, the eleven-time Grammy nominee gives recitals around ...

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Soundcheck CD Picks of the Week

This week’s picks bring us a beatboxing classical flutist, an indie rock take on the civil war, and saxophones from Switzerland.


The Definition of a “Gentleman”

What do you think of the banjo? Is it annoying or awesome? Tell Soundcheck.


A Place to Bury Strangers

Gig Alerts: A Place to Bury Strangers

These raucous shoegazers will open for the Big Pink tonight at Webster Hall. Download their throwback track "In Your Heart."


Flying Lotus

Gig Alerts: Flying Lotus

This experimental producer and musician works in the electronic and hip-hop worlds, but he's a descendent of a jazz original. Download his cool, dusky track "Quakes," then see him ton...

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Gig Alerts: Califone

This quartet likes to dabble in post-rock -- and the movie business. Download their gloomy, film-inspired track "Funeral Singers," then check them out tonight at the Bell House.