Tim Lake’s new “Banjo Sonata” project explores two themes. First, he composed and performed his classical, three-movement, solo banjo sonata entitled “A Five String Banjo Sonata In G Major” with Movement I in Sonata-Allegro form. Second, the word sonata means ‘to sound,’ so he decided to use the banjos that he has accumulated over the years and play (and sometimes sing) a tune reminiscent of the music from that banjo and its era. This album demonstrates the greater meaning of the term Banjo Sonata by showcasing a variety of banjos and banjo sounds. There are many different types of music and banjo styles throughout this project encompassing original compositions, traditional tunes, classical pieces and popular songs. While most of these performances are for solo banjo, he is joined for two of his compositions by Jay Flippin on piano ("Was It Something You Said?") and Kuniyoshi Sugawara on shakuhachi flute ("Rokudan Breakdown").
A Five String Banjo Sonata In G Major
1. Movement I – Allegro con brio “The Question” 5:02
2. Movement II – Adagio cantabile “Is It Really A Gift To Be Simple?” 3:59
3. Movement III – Vivace motto con brio “Nuevo Rondo Banjo Marcho” 4:48
4. Black Eyed Susie 3:06
5. J.S. Bach Minuet III In G Major, BWV 822 1:12
6. When You’re Smiling 1:42
7. Hector’s Theme 2:04
8. You Are My Sunshine 1:12
9. Was It Something You Said? 3:03
10. Count Your Blessings 4:31
11. Rhapsody For Five-String Banjo In C Major 7:35
12. Me And My Shadow 3:28
13. The Evening Leader March 3:28
14. Somewhere 6:30
15. All The Good Times Are Past And Gone 3:29
16. Fiddling Fives Medley 6:16
17. Rokudan Breakdown 5:45
18. A Leprechaun Meets Mahatma Gandhi 3:54
19. What A Wonderful World 4:24
20. Old Joe Clark Con Accelerando Y Harmonie 3:23
Tim Lake, Banjo Sonata
Banjo Sonata “Tim Lake is a virtuoso on the banjo and on the album Banjo Sonata he not only plays different banjos, but also goes on adventures in different musical regions – he starts with a self-composed classic-oriented piece in three parts, the “Five-String Banjo Sonata in G Major” which lasts over thirteen minutes. Lake regularly hangs spectacularly on the ropes and lets you hear things on the banjo that you have never heard anywhere else. This applies to his composition “Rokudan Breakdown” where you hardly recognize the banjo at first, but think it is a Japanese string instrument. This is one of the few songs on which you hear a guest player, namely shakuhachi player Kuniyoshi Sugawara. Pianist Jay Flippin plays on Lake’s “Was It Something You Said?” but otherwise you only hear Tim Lake playing and singing. Most songs are his own compositions but he also knows how to bend a number of classics such as “When You’re Smiling” (that dates from the thirties) and real Bluegrass traditions to make his own mark. “Old Joe Clark Con Accelerando Y Harmonie” gets unforgettable treatment on seven of the banjos from his collection, but “Black Eyed Susie” also becomes a real Tim Lake song played on a 1925 Weyman five-string banjo. The cover shows the banjos with extra information and each song states which banjo is being played that should please fanatical banjo aficionados. On this album you fall from one surprise to the next as Lake lets his imagination loose on his “A Leprechaun Meets Mahatma Gandhi” while just before you have the “Fiddling Fives Medley” all performed magnificently in a way you have never heard the banjo before.”
— Holly Moors/ Moors Magazine (Holland: Dutch to English translation) /Feb. 2016
"If you like alternative styles of music on the banjo, this one's for you. Kentucky banjoist Lake's new CD leads off with an original, "A Five-String Banjo Sonata In G Major" and follows up with a Bach minuet, a traditional, "You Are My Sunshine" and Lake's "Rhapsody For Five_String Banjo In C Major." Other cuts include "Me And My Shadow" and another Lake original, "A Leprechaun Meets Mahatma Gandhi." Whoo-ee!"
Mitch Finley, Bluegrass Blabber Jan./Feb. 2016
About the Artist – Tim Lake
Tim Lake is a singer-songwriter, composer, performer, and teacher who was born in Manhattan, New York and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. Playing banjo and guitar, Tim has been a professional musician for over 40 years, has released eleven albums of original songs, and has performed internationally and across the United States with his group “The Little Big Band.”
Tim received a doctorate in music in 1991 from the University of Kentucky. In 1993, he performed and recorded the world premiere of his doctoral work, “An American Concerto For 5-String Banjo And Orchestra,” with the Atlanta-Emory Orchestra in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1995, his concerto was awarded Kentucky’s prestigious Al Smith Fellowship for music composition and he has also received recognition as a composer from ASCAP’s Standard and Popular Awards panel from 1994 through 2017.
Rounder Records released Tim’s first recording entitled “Same Old Roadside Inn” and in 1993, Tim started his own company, Padraig Records LLC, which has since released seven compact disc/cassette recordings. His recording efforts are very diverse in scope but easily fall within an ‘eclectic folk’ and Americana category in that they are unique banjo related efforts. “Jazz With Bluegrass And Blues” has as its major focus the singer-songwriter and banjo player attributes of his music while the “banjo concerto” and selections such as his banjo arrangement of Beethoven’s “Für Elise” should intrigue classical aficionados as well. The Padraig Records/ Audio Park release entitled “Live In Tokyo, Japan” features two duets with Japanese traditional musicians on shakuhachi and shamisen while “Kentucky Home” is a two CD set that is Tim’s first recording to feature primarily traditional music. He has received acclaim from respected music critics such as Nat Hentoff, Paul E. Comeau, and John Lupton.
Tim’s trio plays an eclectic mix of American music presented in an original show on banjo, guitar, bass, fiddle, and mandolin. The recording “Jazz With Bluegrass And Blues” best demonstrates his live show. A typical performance will take the listener through original songs with thought provoking lyric content, to Classical music on the banjo, to Jazz, and finally, to Bluegrass and Blues.
As a banjo artist, songwriter, and composer of the highest order, Tim Lake has performed his brand of American music with Kentucky style in international music festivals and concerts all over the world, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokosuka, Japan; Ambato and Quito, Ecuador; Bø, and Oslo, Norway; Graz, Austria; and Wexford, Ireland. His form of American music, boundless and refreshing, will always be welcomed by world audiences.
D.M.A., University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 1991.
Major: Music composition.
M.M., University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 1988.
Major: Music composition.
B.A., University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 1987.
B.A., University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, 1983
Padraig Records, LLC
P. O. Box 31
Wilmore, KY 40390
Phone/Fax: 859-858-0118/cell 859-797-6505
web site: www.TimLake.com
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