Jon Stickley Trio independently releases Lost at Last, their 2nd album, on October 6, 2015. The originality and sheer energy of this genre-bending ensemble serves as a welcome wake up call for those who experience it. With roots in gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and hip-hop, Jon Stickley Trio combines Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett (Futureman) on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage (Atmosphere) on drums. The three have fused their collective styles into a repertoire of exciting and innovative original music along with some captivating covers. The album is now available on CD Baby and iTunes.
The New York Times’ Nate Chinen writes “… there’s hardy cohesion among the players — no less on the Gypsy standard ‘Valse de Wasso’ than on ‘Darth Radar’ a turbocharged original with a ska upbeat and a shredding melody. And when Mr. Stickley and friends turn to bluegrass, as on ‘The High Road,’ by Tim O’Brien, they sound both respectful and free.”
Lost at Last was recorded in the band’s hometown of Asheville, NC at the iconic Echo Mountain Studios under the watchful eye of producer Dave King (The Bad Plus). While recording the album, King referred to the band’s imaginative sound as “this whole other thing.” King’s creative energy and inspired musical approach led the band deeper and deeper into the heart of their musical consciousness, which led to the solidification of their musical identity.
“Working with our producer Dave King was a life changing experience for us all,” says Stickley. “He is an intense, master musician, but also a hilarious, life-loving, positive, HEAVY, ‘unimpeachable’, inspiring dude! He helped us find ourselves, and his mark on the album is undeniable.” Jon goes on to say, “We succeeded in capturing a lot of spontaneous energy.”
Fan-funded through Kickstarter, Lost at Last features eleven tracks including six original tunes. It opens with ”Point-to-Point,” a song that could sum up the Trio’s personality, ranging from delicate syncopated pizzicato interplay to a powerful electo-rock climax featuring Jon’s distinctive flat-picking style. “Darth Radar” is already a crowd favorite at the Trio’s live shows; it was originally inspired by the modern dubstep artists, Skrillex and deadmau5, but over time has settled into an upbeat groove, with elements of ska and the fleet single string tremolo one might hear from Dick Dale, and other surf guitar gods. “Rice Dream,” is Jon’s subtle prayer for Tony Rice, who is one of his biggest musical influences. The song highlights Jon’s nimble picking style and soft harmonic chimes as well as the haunting beauty of Lyndsay’s violin.
Other tracks include the hypnotically enchanting “Goa,” penned by Pruett on the shores of the Indian Ocean, the cinematic and neoclassical “Octapickin,” in which Pruett’s beautiful string arrangements and improvisations take the listener through an emotional dreamscape, and the relaxing and poetic “Pamlico Sound.”
Lost at Last features a handful of covers including The Bad Plus’ “Never Stop”, Tim O’Brien’s “The High Road,” set to a grooving half time feel and break beat reprise, held down by Patrick Armitage on the drums. Lost at Last also features a ‘Stickley” version of Strength in Numbers’ “Slopes” (written by Bela Fleck, Mark O’Connor). The record also includes a traditional gypsy jazz waltz, “Valse de Wasso,”and ends with “Flight of the Durban,” penned by Stickley’s longtime friend Leftover Salmon’s banjo ripper Andy Thorn.
What Folks Are Saying About Lost At Last:
“Jon Stickley is a guitarist based in Asheville, N.C., and rooted in the flatpicking bluegrass tradition, the quicksilver dialect of Tony Rice and Norman Blake. But in the Jon Stickley Trio, with the fiddler Lyndsay Pruett and the drummer Patrick Armitage, he also bounces around in Gypsy jazz, folk-punk and jam-band territory, tracing a fidgety continuity of style.” –The New York Times, Nate Chinen
“Blending elements of traditional, fast paced bluegrass with sultry backings in jazz and raging hip hop beats, Lost at Last is an album not to be missed.” —Performer Mag, Kate Dennis-Skillings
“Asheville has a force to be reckoned with in the tight three-piece perfection of the Jon Stickley Trio. It’s pretty incredible how closely the three play with their unique blend of Appalachian, jazz, maybe even prog-rock styles.” —Martin Anderson, Music Director & Host at WNCW
“This is very very cool music. Jon’s ideas on the acoustic guitar are the freshest of the fresh. Lost at Last is rated BA: Bad. Ass.” —Larry Keel, Guitar Legend & Master Fisherman
“Lost At Last takes the listener on a winding musical journey where the unexpected is the expected… Sweeping melodies, precise pickin’, thumping percussion and frenzied violin are just some of what await you… ” –The Daily Country, Tara Joan
“Probably the best thing about reviewing music is finding artists I’ve never heard of and falling in love… When I first put on Jon Stickley Trio’s sophomore album, Lost at Last, I listened for a few minutes and thought, ‘that’s bold–opening with an instrumental.’ I dig it. I soon learned it was an album of sell-your-soul-to-the-devil quality picking instrumentals.” –Grateful Music, Dan Fugate