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Carolina Chimes:
Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase

Ekstein Collaborates with All-star Musicians Stuart Duncan, Jeff Autry, Mark Schatz & More

OUT TODAY: October 5, 2018 on Foxfire Recording

Available Now On All Outlets→ http://smarturl.it/2pryj6   

Asheville, NC – Rudi Ekstein has been in the music business for many years as a performer, producer, and studio owner. Now, on his album Carolina Chimes: Rudi Ekstein’s All Original Bluegrass Instrumental Showcase, released October 5, on Foxfire Recording, Ekstein showcases his mandolin prowess on 12 original instrumental tunes featuring an all-star cast of world-class talent. Some of the artists brought into the studio for this project include multi-GRAMMY Award Winner Stuart Duncan on fiddle and renowned guitarist Jeff Autry for the entire album, two time IBMA Bass Player of the Year Mark Schatz performs on all but one tune, long-time collaborator John Plotnik plays banjo on the majority of the album and steps in on Dobro on four tracks while GRAMMY nominated multi instrumentalist, Patrick Sauber takes the lead on banjo. Bluegrass Today premiered the first single off the album, “Spikebuck.”

With Carolina Chimes as Ekstein has put together an upbeat collection of bluegrass barn burners performed with great pickers who help to bring these unique cuts to life. Unselfish and smart, Ekstein lets his collaborators do what they do best here. The result is a fast-paced recording that will remind you of the power of bluegrass music.

rudi_ekstein suit-473_fxd_CreditSandlinGaither.jpg

Rudi Ekstein. Photo by Sandlin Gaither.

“The most obvious parts of everyone’s life have been depicted in a bluegrass song,” says Ekstein. “The bluegrass tunes I’ve written for my records over the past 30 or so years are mostly named after people, events, or something important that happened in my life. That’s just part of my love for bluegrass.”

As the son of an Austrian immigrant to America his surname, Ekstein, translates, literally, to “Cornerstone,” which is the aptly titled opening track to the album, symbolizing his heritage and love of the genre. Another song on Carolina Chimes that reflects that philosophy is “Jessy’s Fancy,” named for Ekstein’s daughter.

Many of the tunes on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s travels in this world, from his early years living in California and exploring the American West, to settling down in the western North Carolina mountain town of Asheville.

“Hoot Owl Hop” was written from his days of living in California when the warm summer nights brought hoot owls to the eucalyptus trees every year. The perfect title for a wild ride of a tune, ‘Spikebuck,’ refers to the name of some rapids on the Arkansas River in Colorado where his family, barely hanging on, took a fast-moving whitewater rafting trip one year. “Back Drag” was named after an insane stunt Ekstein once attempted for the first and last time as a trick rider on a galloping horse in his youth.

About a decade ago, Ekstein relocated to Asheville, where he continues to run the Foxfire Recording Studio (started in 1990), so he could play more bluegrass with western North Carolina roots musician, Billy Constable, for whom this album is dedicated. Constable, who passed away in 2015 of cancer, was best known for his three-finger-picking banjo technique and his vigorous acoustic guitar leads.

A couple of songs on this project were written in Constable’s memory including, “‘Bacon in the Pan,’ Rudi’s version of an old-time fiddle tune done in the bluegrass style as, Rudi recalls, “Billy often spoke endlessly on the phone about the fine points of cooking a good breakfast, and ‘All Night in Kentucky’ is a tune I wrote after jamming all night long at the IBMA convention in Louisville, KY, with Billy. Inspired by that experience, I just couldn’t stop pickin’ on that early morning and I spontaneously ended up playing this tune.”

Rock ‘n’ roll music and bluegrass music from the Appalachian Mountains have had a big influence in Ekstein’s musical life. Within weeks of arriving in the area, Constable introduced Ekstein to many players in the WNC pickin’ scene. Both were in the band Blue Wheel Drive, along with bassist Rob Parks, and all three went on to perform for two years with The Bobby Hicks Band. Parks makes an appearance on Carolina Chimes playing “Rockalachia,” a tune BWD performed live that is reminiscent of the boogie-woogie style of bluegrass played on the mandolin in the 1940’s by the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Another bluegrass buddy from those days, Seth Rhinehart, also steps in on banjo on that ditty as well as “Dixie Sunset,” of which Ekstein says, “I wanted to see how close I could write a ¾-time tune within the style of bluegrass, but still make it unique in its own way. Playing music on the deck of my North Carolina mountain home while overlooking the woods and watching the sunset inspired me to write this twisty waltz.”

Other cuts on Carolina Chimes reflect Ekstein’s many musical influences. “I always thought ‘Indian Rain’ would be a good song for an old fashioned western movie. Too bad it was 60 years too late. Turned out to be a better bluegrass fiddle tune, especially with Stuart Duncan at the Helm. In the late 1980’s, I recorded my song ‘Flapjack’ while playing Dobro for a band project,” says Ekstein. “I originally wrote it on the Dobro as a tune for the mandolin. I finally made it a reality here on this album. And, that brings me to the album’s title cut, ‘Carolina Chimes.’ I’ve always loved the classic banjo tunes that featured the sound of arpeggio chimes created by banjo and mandolin duets. It reminds me of bells ringing at an old Carolina country church house.”

Kind Words about Carolina Chimes:

“The bulk of [the songs] are flat-out, hold-on-to-your-hat wild rides that he takes you on… The entire album brings back many great memories to me of John Hartford’s many musical excursions through the years, jam sessions with Mike Marshall down in Florida back in the ’70’s and all sorts of good stuff... I would suggest the best way to listen to this CD is on a nice drive through the country or anywhere.”Elmore, Ken Spooner

“Here is good, pure music… ‘Carolina Chimes,’ the disc’s title track, is one that completely delights me, certainly another of the disc’s highlights. There is something incredibly catchy and even pretty about it. It’s happiness in the form of music.” Michael’s Music Log, Michael Doherty

“Rudi Ekstein has written a great collection of new bluegrass instrumentals and as writer, producer, engineer and musician, recorded this album and maintained a very high degree of quality at every step of the production process! The mix is wonderful and Rudi’s cast of musicians is stellar!” —Gene Libbea (Nashville Bluegrass Band)

“Rudi’s original tunes are sure to become classics. The musicians on this project are fantastic – every tune is a gem.” –Dennis Caplinger

“Rudi has put together a nice mixture of tunes that take us from up tempo fiddle numbers to sad mountain laments with a gypsy jazz feel thrown in for good measure. I am honored to be included in this stellar lineup of world class acoustic players from around the country. This project is superbly crafted using the finest instruments, played through the finest microphones by virtuoso musicians. Great job Rudi! —Jeff Autry

“I have known Rudi for a long time. Having lived in California for several years we used to cross paths alot. Rudi, like me, as we have grown older, seems to have a calling to write tunes. Bill Monroe did the same thing. The 12 tunes that Rudi has put together are winners. These musicians that Rudi picked to play on his project are top notch. Surrounding yourself with good musicians is the key, and Rudi, you found the right key.”  —Byron Berline

Carolina Chimes Track Listing
1. Cornerstone   (2:41)
2. Indian Rain   (3:21)
3. All Night in Kentucky  (2:48)
4. Hoot Owl Hop   (2:52)
5. Jessy’s Fancy   (3:54)
6. Spikebuck   (2:04)
7. Flapjack   (3:31)
8. Bacon in the Pan   (2:28)
9. Rockalachia   (2:35)
10. Carolina Chimes   (2:26)
11. Dixie Sunset   (2:39 )
12. Back Drag   (1:50)

 

The Musicians on Carolina Chimes include:
Stuart Duncan – Fiddle (all tracks)
Jeff Autry – Guitar (all tracks)
Mark Schatz – Upright Bass (all tracks except 9)
Rob Parks – Upright Bass (9)
John Plotnik – Banjo (1,2,3,7,10,12), Dobro (4,5,6,8)
Patrick Sauber – Banjo (4,5,6,8)
Seth Rhinehart – Banjo (9,11)
Rudi Ekstein – Mandolin (all tracks)

All tunes written by Rudi Ekstein, BMI, Carolina Chimes Music, P & C 2018
Produced by Rudi Ekstein.  Recorded and Mixed by Rudi Ekstein

Rudi has owned and operated his own commercial recording studio business Foxfire Recording since 1990, and since then has played for, or produced and/or engineered numerous albums for CMH, Rounder, Sugar Hill Records, as well as artists like Tony Rice, Larry Rice, Chris Hillman, Josh Graves, David Grisman, Richard Greene, Bill Keith, David Grier, Herb Pedersen, Bill Bryson, and other notables. His array of recording and live performance credits include many internationally known bluegrass musicians like fiddle players Byron Berline and Gabe Witcher; banjo hotshots John Hickman, Dennis Caplinger, and Craig Smith; gifted Dobro player, Rob Ickes, The Nashville Bluegrass Band’s GRAMMY award winning bass player, Gene Libbea; an original Bluegrass Cardinal bass player Bill Bryson; as well as three members of the Country Boys (later the Kentucky Colonels), bass man Eric White, banjo player, Billy Ray Lathum, and Dobro player, Leroy Mack among many others.

For more information, please visit the album website: www.carolinachimes.com and www.facebook.com/rudieksteinbluegrass.

 

 

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Photo 1 is by Scott Woody, photo 2 is by Simply Pickin' & the 3rd one is by Debbie Ryder

Photo 1 is by Scott Woody, photo 2 is by Simply Pickin’ & the 3rd one is by Debbie Ryder

Celebrating the Life and Music of Billy Constable at Isis
Thursday, Oct 8, 2015

7:30pm – 1:00am
743 Haywood Rd, West Asheville, North Carolina 28806
http://isisasheville.com/events/celebrating-the-life-and-times-of-billy-constable-2/

RSVP on Facebook here

Billy Constable was a well-known and much loved bluegrass musician from WNC who had been battling terminal brain cancer for the better part of a year. He lost his battle on Saturday, August 22nd, 2015.

His friends have organized a memorial event, The Billy Constable Memorial Jam, to honor this kind-hearted, talented man and the great contribution he has made to the music community of WNC and beyond. It will take place at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in West Asheville on Thursday, October 8th from 7:30pm-1am.

“The outpouring of stories and memories online about Constable give an idea of the scope of a life dedicated to musical passion, and they tell the story of a kind, gentle soul, always willing to teach to anyone who wanted to learn,” writes Brian Swenk in Boone’s Mountain Times.

Included will be a memorial slideshow and a celebration of his life in a night of live music with Billy’s longtime musical compadres. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the rich legacy he has left us. Suggested donation is $10 at the door. Proceeds to benefit the Constable family. If you cannot make the show, but would like to donate, please do so at http://www.gofundme.com/nuj8ks

The lineup so far includes:
Sassagrass
Butch Robins
Steve McMurry (of Acoustic Syndicate)
Jon Stickley & Lyndsay Pruett (of Jon Stickley Trio)
Bearwallow (2015 MerleFest Band Competition Winners)
Amanda Platt (of The Honeycutters)
Taylor Martin
Sam Wharton
Darren Nicholson Band (of Balsam Range)
Blue Wheel Drive
Robert Greer (with members of Town Mountain)
Jim Rollins
Adam Masters
Billy Cardine
Bobby Miller
Jason and Jacob Burleson
Mary Lucey

more to be announced

More about Billy Constable:

Born March 23, 1959, Billy Constable was a well known and much loved musician from WNC.

Growing up in Avery county, he came from a rich lineage of musicians including; Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman, Lawrence Wiseman, David Wiseman, Fiddling Jimmy Wiseman, banjo picker Kent Wiseman, and Billy’s mother, Lois.

Billy formed his first band Leather Britches, and at the age of 14 he hit the road professionally joining Charlie Moore’s band in the early 1970’s. He went on to play with Doug Dillard and in the 80’s his family band The Constables was formed. They also appeared with the late great Rose Maddox in that band. In addition he played with Dick Tyner and Train 45, Ray Parks, and toured with Kenny Baker and Josh Graves.

In recent years he recorded with the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band with Steve McMurry, and Curtis Burch, Larry Keel, String Cheese Incident, Acoustic Forum, Hypnotic Clambake, and formed his own band Sassagrass.

He has shared the stage picking with; Vassar Clements, John Hartford, Butch Robins, Mac Wiseman, Leftover Salmon, Byron Berline, Sam Bush, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Jim and Jesse, and the Osborne Brothers, to name a few.

Steeped in the rich knowledge of traditional bluegrass and Appalachian music, but reaching far beyond into gypsy jazz and other eclectic forms of music, he is well known as a musician’s musician.

A master of guitar, banjo, and mandolin, Billy has often been credited with teaching his musical compadres how to play and “play it right,” and we have all become better musicians and better people for knowing him.

Thank you Billy, for sharing your gift with us.  ~ written by Deb Ryder

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The following concerts are in conjunction with a benefit Larry Keel and Natural Bridge is hosting for an entire weekend for our good friend Billy Constable. Billy has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and has just had brain surgery and does not have insurance. LKNB will be accepting donations on his behalf, donating their merchandise sales and hosting a 50/50 raffle to raise money for Billy to offset his medical expenses.  
Visit www.billyconstable.com for more info.

Melting Point in Athens, GA 12/8
Legal Grounds in Rutherfordton, NC 12/9
Pour House in Charleston, SC 12/10

Billy has been diagnosed with a lump on the lower portion of his brain which has been causing increasingly frequent seizures. He is currently seeing medical specialists and gathering evaluations. The expense is certain to be high, and Billy is without medical insurance. We are coming together, as friends and fellow musicians, to help offset those costs.

Billy Constable grew up in a very musical family in Avery County, and he has been playing music for most of his life. Billy is part of Avery County’s Wiseman family, which includes a number of professional musicians including Scotty Wiseman, Lawrence Wiseman, David Wiseman, Fiddling Jimmy Wiseman, banjo picker Kent Wiseman, and Billy’s mother, Lois.

Billy began playing guitar professionally as a youngster with bluegrass great Charlie Moore, who had married Billy’s mother. He also played in Douglas Dillard’s newly formed “post Dillards” bluegrass band The Doug Dillard Band from Hollywood, which also featured Byron Berline and occasional guests like Vassar Clements and Sam Bush.

Billy’s approach to the banjo is firmly rooted in Appalachian string music, but it can be deceptively eclectic. His influences begin at home and with his family, but Billy’s repertoire is vast, and he is comfortable in most musical situations. In addition to banjo, Billy is also an accomplished musician on the guitar, mandolin and violin.

Travers Chandler writes in Bluegrass Today, “I was well aware of what a musical giant Billy Constable was. He had spent time with The Doug Dillard Band, toured with Kenny Baker and Josh Graves, and later worked with envelope-pushers like Larry Keel, Leftover Salmon, and String Cheese Incident on both banjo and guitar.  It wasn’t until I had moved to Asheville in 2010, though, that I became aware of what a rare human being he was – both as a friend, and a brother in the order of acoustic music. We had spoken a time or two during my research on Charlie, and I knew of his prowess and ability to play all kinds of acoustic music: jamband, gypsy, rock and roll… The guy is a genius.”

“He was a mentor to all of us,” Jon Jon Davis said [in an interview in the Boone Mountain Times with Frank Ruggiero],“and he’s played with everybody.”

LKNB’s Mark Schimick says in the same interview, Billy Constable was the main bluegrass teacher for Jon Jon and myself,” he said. “When he first heard us play, he heard a bunch of green musicians, as far as bluegrass is concerned, but he heard how we knew to play the rhythm to it,” Schimick said.

During the next couple years, Constable became their bluegrass mentor, teaching them how to play solos, sing the parts and behave on the road. “In a lot of ways, he helped us all get started on how to become professional musicians,” Schimick said. “Playing with him is like playing with family,” Schimick said. “He’s just as down to earth playing on stage as he is hanging out.”

For more information about Billy Constable and for updates on his medical situation, please visit:  www.billyconstable.com.

If people would prefer to mail a donation, please mail to:
Dave Ruch
155 St James Place
Buffalo NY 14222
dave@daveruch.com
716-884-6855


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All proceeds will go directly to helping offset Billy’s medical expenses.

Asheville, NC — A large group of friends has come together in the bluegrass and acoustic music scene in the area to help our good buddy, Billy Constable, raise funds to offset his medical expenses for a brain tumor that he was recently diagnosed with.  The Grey Eagle is hosting the event on Sunday, December 11, 2011.  The doors open at 6pm, donations will be accepted, and there will also be a silent auction.  Bands performing are Big Daddy Bluegrass Band, Asheville Bluegrass Collective (featuring: members of Steep Canyon Rangers, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge and Town Mountain), Jason Burleson and the Bluegrass Buddies, and Nikki Talley.

Travers Chandler writes in Bluegrass Today, “Anyone familiar with the acoustic music scene of Western NC, or with the music of the legendary Charlie Moore, is no stranger to Billy Constable. In fact, I am not certain Billy encountered many strangers. He is a friend to many people, and to those of us fortunate to know him well, even a great mentor.”

Billy has been diagnosed with a lump on the lower portion of his brain which has been causing increasingly frequent seizures. He is currently seeing medical specialists and gathering evaluations. The expense is certain to be high, and Billy is without medical insurance. We are coming together here, as friends and fellow musicians, to help offset those costs.

Billy Constable grew up in a very musical family in Avery County, and he has been playing music for most of his life. Billy is part of Avery County’s Wiseman family, which includes a number of professional musicians including Scotty Wiseman, Lawrence Wiseman, David Wiseman, Fiddling Jimmy Wiseman, banjo picker Kent Wiseman, and Billy’s mother, Lois.

Billy began playing guitar professionally as a youngster with bluegrass great Charlie Moore, who had married Billy’s mother. He also played in Douglas Dillard’s newly formed “post Dillards” bluegrass band The Doug Dillard Band from Hollywood, which also featured Byron Berline and occasional guests like Vassar Clements and Sam Bush.

After touring with The Doug Dillard Band, Billy took a break from the road in order to work on his banjo skills while playing in a family’s band, The Constables, who were living in California at the time. He later had the opportunity to tour with two more bluegrass greats, Kenny Baker, a veteran fiddler from Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, and Josh Graves, a long time Dobro player with Flatt & Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys.

Billy’s approach to the banjo is firmly rooted in Appalachian string music, but it can be deceptively eclectic. His influences begin at home and with his family, but Billy’s repertoire is vast, and he is comfortable in most musical situations. In addition to banjo, Billy is also an accomplished musician on the guitar, mandolin and violin.

In recent years, Billy has carried his banjo into more jam-oriented groups such as Acoustic Forum from New York and New England’s Max Creek. He toured extensively and recorded with Hypnotic Clambake and The Larry Keel Experience. Billy has appeared on many shows with Leftover Salmon, and he was also a featured guest on a handful of String Cheese Incident shows and one of their recent albums “Carnival 99.” Billy also played with the seasonal Big Daddy Bluegrass Band with Steve McMurray, Curtis Burch and Larry Keel.

For more information about Billy Constable and for updates on his medical situation, please visit:  www.billyconstable.com and the FaceBook Event.

If people would prefer to mail a donation, please mail to:
Dave Ruch
155 St James Place
Buffalo NY 14222
dave@daveruch.com
716-884-6855

~~~~~~~~~~~~~  MEET THE PERFORMERS   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Big Daddy Bluegrass Band The Big Daddy Bluegrass Band rides again! It has been five long years since the BDBB has taken the stage. They make their return on February 11th at the Visulite Theater in Charlotte, NC, for the debut of the new lineup which features some of the premier acoustic musicians working today. Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry, front man and founding member of Acoustic Syndicate, returns to the world of bluegrass music with a formidable arsenal of hot, young pickers. Jason Flournoy, formerly of Larry Keel & Natural Bridge / Shanti Groove, is highly respected in all genres of music across the nation. Jay Sanders is the long time bass man for Acoustic Syndicate and former with Donna The Buffalo. He is one of the hardest working and most exciting upright bass men on the East coast. Producer, engineer and dobro virtuoso, Billy Cardine, formerly of The Biscuit Burners, is one of Jerry Douglass’ favorite new dobro men. He has shared the stage with Edgar Meyer at Carnegie Hall and his recordings are featured on the BBC, PBS and the History Channel. Robert Greer, front man of Asheville bluegrass band Town Mountain, will also be joining the band adding harmonizing vocals, guitar, and his charismatic stage presenc

Asheville Bluegrass Collective– The Asheville Bluegrass Collective is a super-group of Asheville’s finest bluegrass musicians. The pickers include: Jon Stickley and Robert Greer (Town Mountain), Mark Schimick (Larry Keel and Natural Bridge), Charles Humphrey (Steep Canyon Rangers), Jason Flournoy, and many more special guests! Look out for some solid Asheville style Bluegrass!

Jason Burleson – The original banjo player with Blue Highway, Jason is a native of Newland, North Carolina. A talented multi-instrumentalist, he brings all-around musicianship to the group, not the least of which is his distinctive, rock-solid banjo style. Writing for the Memphis Area Bluegrass Association,Betty Westmoreland observed about Jason and his habit of saying very little onstage: “His banjo does the talking, as is true of most superb performers. From Newland, NC, in Avery County, Burleson is part of that fine crop of North Carolina banjo players. There must be something about the air, or water, or the soil in that part of the country—so many fine banjo players seem to come out of those hills.”

Jason’s instrumental compositions form an integral part of the Blue Highway repertoire, including “The North Cove” ( Through the Window of a Train), hailed by one critic as “a burning instrumental with a sinuous melody” that offers “more to chew on than just the whiz-bang pyrotechnics of many modern bluegrass instrumentals” (Smoky Mountain News). Jason also anchors the group’s quartets with his bass vocals. A jazz devotee, Jason’s talent hasn’t been fully revealed yet to the bluegrass community and gives Blue Highway unlimited options for the future.

Jason will be leading a virtuosic group of bluegrass musicians featuring everyone’s favorite bluegrass buddy, David Via.

David Vias songs come from being raised and living up in the Blue Ridge mountains of Patrick County, Virginia. Via (as most folks call him – that’s pronounced Vi and rhymes with sky) is a well-known figure in bluegrass/newgrass circles with twenty-some odd years of singing and songwriting.

Via first performed Americana/Bluegrass with The Bluegrass Buddies with Alan Bibey and Ronnie Bowman. Over the years, Via has played in a lot of lineups and with a lot of great pickers: the newgrass In Sync – Jody King, James Donchez, Kim Gardiner, and Alan Purdue, the Dan River Revue – Wyatt Rice, Tommy Morse, Tim Jefferson, and Pete Ross. Via has joined the stage with Vassar Clemmens, Sammy Shelor, Ronnie Bowman, Tony Rice, and John Cowan. He currently teams up with two-time grammy winner Curtis Burch to perform more intimate shows and highlights his original material with award-winning musician friends who spin David Via & Corn Tornado.

Nikki Talley Hardworking, energetic, mountain girl with a big voice…these could all describe Nikki Talley. Raised in North Carolina and hailing from Asheville, it’s only fitting that her music is as eclectic as the state that boasts the mountains and the sea. Trying to pin down Nikki’s style, critics and reviewers alike have compared her to an early Liz Phair and Gillian Welch, but to leave the comparisons there would be doing a disservice to her fiery stage performance, hauntingly seductive and raw gritty lyrics, lifted by a voice that harkens back to the Appalachian roots from which she was born, and shores up on the edges of contemporary southern rock, country, blues, and jazz that has her audiences stomping and clapping for more.

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Show Details at a Glance:
Benefit for Billy Constable
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Grey Eagle
185 Clingman Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 232-5800
www.thegreyeagle.com

$10 Suggested donation

Bands: Big Daddy Bluegrass Band, Asheville Blue Grass Collective (featuring: members of Steep Canyon Rangers, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge and Town Mountain), Jason Burleson and the Blue Grass Buddies, and Nikki Talley.

The doors open at 6pm silent auction will close at 9pm.

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