Abigail Washburn is a blonde, blue-eyed banjo player from the Midwest who is obsessed with China, speaks Mandarin and sings in Chinese when she feels like it. That is, when she’s not performing her very contemporary versions of traditional Appalachian-style folk songs, threatening in one to use her shotgun on a lover who has betrayed her. (She ends that song with a wicked smile.)
In this edition of “Quick Hits,” SOUND TRACKS reporter Arun Rath talks with Washburn about how she fell in love with China and how listening to Doc Watson made her fall for bluegrass music. And she performs three songs exclusively for “Quick Hits,” including “City of Refuge,” the title track from her new album.
Don't miss other Quick Hits starring Seun Kuti, Dengue Fever, Charles Bradley & Sharon Jones, Helene Grimaud, Jovanotti, KT Tunstall, Meklit Hadero, Ozomatli, and Seu Jorge. For more info visit Sound Tracks's site.
As if our debt to China weren’t big enough, it turns out we also owe the Asian giant for inspiring Abigail Washburn, a true American original, to become a musician. It’s a roundabout story. But you’ll get the drift of it in her interview with SOUND TRACKS reporter Arun Rath, plus a sampling of her songs.
Her original plan was to pursue a law degree in China -- did we mention she’s really smart? – but her discovery of the banjo and bluegrass music changed all that. She still gets to China regularly, doing earthquake relief concerts and embarking on a musical tour of the old Silk Road. As she says, “I really believe in the power of music.”
Watch more music stories on the SOUND TRACKS website