The Gina Furtado Project - I Just Telephone Upstairs
  • I Just Telephone Upstairs
  • I Just Telephone Upstairs
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (02:37) [5.98 MB]
Why You Should Care: Gina Furtado — thrice nominated for the IBMA’s Banjo Player of the Year award — is capturing the attention of tastemakers and audiences alike with her clever and insightful music. Her and her band, The Gina Furtado Project, bring a fresh perspective and deeply individualized approach to musicianship and songwriting that breaks free from the assumed constructs of traditional music modalities and makes a new musical statement influenced by emotion, played with the highest skill, and expressing an enormous verve and vitality. The Gina Furtado Project’s recent singles have been featured on Apple Music’s Americana Hot Tracks and Americana Best New Songs lists, Pandora’s New Bluegrass Now playlist and TIDAL’s Beyond Bluegrass playlist.


From Bill Monroe’s “Walking In Jerusalem,” adapted from the Golden Gate Quartet, to Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver’s epic reworking of the Soul Stirrer’s “Jesus Gave Me Water,” bluegrass artists have drawn on the rich vein of African-American gospel singing. Now, The Gina Furtado Project serve up their own take on this tradition with “I Just Telephone Upstairs,” the group’s newest single for Mountain Home Music Company.

Pared down to instrumental essentials, the Kristin Scott Benson-produced track shines a spotlight squarely on Furtado’s distinctive voice, cooing harmonies from bandmates and sisters Malia and Lu (bass) Furtado, and deft Travis-style picking from guitarist Drew Matulich, with rhythmic punctuation from guest Wayne Benson’s mandolin. The result is a refreshing change of pace — for The Gina Furtado Project, certainly, but for the bluegrass gospel realm, too.

“When I first heard this song from The Golden Gate Quartet, I put it on repeat and left it there for a few days,” recalls Gina. “It made me smile ‘til my smile-muscles hurt. Sometimes I'd even laugh out loud to myself listening to it, driving down the road, with the sheer delight at the optimism in their performance and the lyrics. It's just so funny and fun! Recording this one with my siblings, Malia and Lu, was definitely a secret little dream come true for me. Drew Matulich absolutely knocked it out of the park with his tasty finger-style guitar picking, along with Wayne Benson's mandolin and Lu's bass. I had such a blast with this one.”

“Hats off to the Golden Gate Quartet” she adds, in a nod to the Black gospel legends. “They continue to be one of those groups I keep going back to when I need a boost and new inspiration!”

About The Gina Furtado Project
Formed by innovative artist Gina Furtado, The Gina Furtado Project brings unique musicianship and songwriting that breaks free from the assumed constructs of traditional music modalities and makes a new musical statement influenced by emotion, played with the highest skill, and expressing an enormous verve and vitality.

Furtado, known for her work as the banjo player for Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, has a long history with her banjo. Born and raised in Front Royal, Virginia, Gina began touring up and down the east coast in her tween years with her siblings, earning countless ribbons from fiddlers conventions, a strong reputation in the regional bluegrass scene, and a stamp from Bluegrass Today as “absurdly talented.” She later played in a number of regional acts before making her international touring debut with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers soon after joining the group in 2016.

While touring, she is joined by Drew Matulich on guitar and her sisters Malia Furtado, on violin and Lu Furtado on bass, and each brings experience and energy to the band.
Now based in Asheville, NC, Matulich grew up in Georgia and began playing guitar at 8. While studying music in college he performed with several bands of various styles in and around Georgia and Florida before immersing himself in the Bluegrass scene of Western North Carolina. He has toured and recorded with Billy Strings, made a guest appearance on Roland White's album and shared the stage with the likes of David Grisman, Bryan Sutton, Sam Bush, Cody Kilby, and Sierra Hull.

Malia’s musical journey began at the age of 3 with classical violin lessons and took a turn, when she attended her first festival, Galax Old Fiddlers Convention, a few years later. Since then, she has performed with a number of different groups, taken home a range of prizes, graced the stage of numerous venues up and down the East Coast and given private lessons in both bluegrass and classical playing. Malia is the Director of Education at the Front Porch Music School in Charlottesville, VA, and currently teaches adult continued education courses in bluegrass fiddle at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, VA.

Lu Furtado has been attending bluegrass and old time music festivals since she was born. She began playing multiple instruments at the age of ten, and has been a winner at the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention playing the Clawhammer banjo, as well as flat foot dancing. She has toured and recorded with multiple bands of varying styles, including Banana Express and the Hi Flyers. She taught banjo for several years at the Galax Elementary School and private music lessons for many years. She brings double trouble to the Gina Furtado Project with her silky, low harmony vocals as well as her stylish, groovy bass playing.
  • Members:
    Gina Furtado - Vocal; Lu Furtado - Upright Bass, Harmony Vocal; Drew Matulich - Guitar; Wayne Benson - Mandolin; Malia Furtado - Fiddle,Harmony Vocal
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  • Profile Last Updated:
    08/14/23 14:52:04

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