First New Solo CD From Ivan Rosenberg in 7 Years!

Image635085523813031640On his new album, Oldies and Old-Time, Ivan Rosenberg brings three elements together: original tunes he’s composed, traditional folk songs and melodies, and solo acoustic interpretations of grand classics from the American songbook.

This third element might seem a bit out of place, but as he says, “The great pop hits of yesteryear, given enough time to sleep, become some of the most enduring of all folk songs.”

The best musicians, regardless of genre, have a kind of sixth sense. It’s an almost magical intuition that tells them the perfect time to come in on their instrument during a song, or helps them craft the best possible riff during a solo.

It’s a synchronicity that lets them meld their music with other artists on the fly and that makes them some of the most in-demand session players. Ivan Rosenberg has this sense.

It’s a sense he uses to bring out the most beautiful, subtle elements of American traditional music. He’s known for his understated yet masterful playing on the Dobro and clawhammer banjo, among other Image635085524314920346instruments, and for his prowess as a recording engineer for roots musicians.

He’s even known in Hollywood, where his gently soaring Dobro lines have brought just the right element of acoustic heft to big budget movies and television shows like Oprah and the Daily Show.

With Oldies and Old Time, his first solo album since 2006, and the first to feature his singing, Ivan brings together the classic songwriting of early American popular music with the timeless sounds of the Southern mountains.

The stringband classic “Red Rocking Chair” rubs shoulders here with the country classic “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” bringing out a mournful strain in both. Original tune “Abject Woodchuck” opens the album with Ivan’s stunningly intricate clawhammer banjo playing, but segues into Brownie McGhee’s “Don’t Pity Me.”

Tin Pan Alley classic “Georgia on My Mind” becomes a heartfelt Dobro solo, and Eddy Arnold’s popular ballad “You Don’t Know Me” gets a stripped-back and lovely rendition with a light touch of doo-wop swing.

Using a resophonic banjo, Ivan adapted his clawhammer banjo playing to bring some of these “oldies” into an old-time framework. With “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” Ivan reworked the classic country bass line into a clawhammer pattern, while the old chestnut “Danny Boy” heard on the album is based on the country pedal steel playing of Buddy Emmons’ version of the song.

Throughout Oldies and Old Time, Ivan shows his prowess as an acoustic roots master unafraid to cross boundaries. He refers to this as his “oddball recording,” but after listening you’ll feel that there’s a natural thread tying these different genres together, a common sound rooted in Ivan’s uncommonly good taste.

Over the years, Ivan has gained a dedicated following for his independently-produced ‘boutique’ recordings of melodic, expressive acoustic music. He engineered beautiful and acclaimed albums for artists like John Reischman, Pharis & Jason Romero, Kevin Brown, and the Evie Ladin Band. He released a transcendent album of old-time music in his duo act with clawhammer banjo master Chris Coole, toured with bluegrass icon Chris Jones, and produced a gloriously retro collaborative CD with stand-out bluegrass band The Foggy Hogtown Boys.

Originally from the Bay Area in California, and formerly a fixture of Western Montana’s lively bluegrass community, Ivan is now in the process of relocating to his wife’s hometown of Toronto, Ontario.

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