Virtuosic duo Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge are known for pushing the envelope of folk, bluegrass, and jazz. Showcasing, as The New Yorker writes, a “familiarity with the fretboard…so extravagant and capacious that they bring flourishes to this music that it simply hasn’t enjoyed before,” their performance is sure to astound.
On Mount Royal, their 2017 release on Free Dirt Records, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge craft songs that sound familiar but are never easily classified. Percolating with tinges of bluegrass and folk, insinuations of jazz and pop, hints of classical and avant garde composition, the album rarely settles into any one particular category; rather, it dances around the territory between genres, never announcing its innovations and prizing soulfulness above chops at every turn. From first note to last, the duo push themselves to find new ways to play their flat-top steel-string acoustic Martins together.
The Grammy-nominated Lage has been highly regarded in jazz and new music circles for his own work as well as for his collaborations with such artists as Nels Cline, Fred Hersch, and Jim Hall, among many others. A former child prodigy, Lage has been recognized for his remarkable musical ability from a very young age, which was displayed in the acclaimed 1996 Oscar-nominated short documentary, Jules at Eight. Fellow Grammy-nominee Eldridge, an Oberlin Conservatory grad who studied with bluegrass guitar legend Tony Rice, is equally noted in the progressive bluegrass world for his stints with the Seldom Scene and The Infamous Stringdusters, which led to his joining Chris Thile’s adventurous quintet, Punch Brothers.