'traditional folk and bluegrass sounds with genuinely poetic lyrics, landing somewhere between Gillian Welch and Lucy Kaplansky.' - Minneapolis Star Tribune **************** Mother Banjo is a one-woman band featuring Ellen Stanley on banjo and vocals. Raised on rock and pop music and trained classically on piano, oboe and voice, Ellen fell in love with folk music as a teenager as she became hooked on public radio and discovered the church coffeehouse scene in southern Connecticut. It was there that she got exposed to a wide variety of acoustic artists and devoured the sounds of singer-songwriters, bluegrass bands and old-timey ballads. Although an avid prose and poetry writer, Ellen did not connect with her own songwriting voice until she graduated from college and moved to Minneapolis where she bought a house, got a cat and took up the banjo. After performing pretty regularly at cabaret-style variety shows and open mics, Ellen has started touring more nationally, hitting clubs and coffeehouses from New York City to the Montana Rockies. Mother Banjo's music combines the haunting sounds of traditional folk and gospel with contemporary alt-country and Americana hooks. Poetic and rich, her songs are sad, sweet and full of the stories that inhabit the wide open prairies of the Midwest. She just released her debut CD Swing Low, featuring four original songs and her fresh take on the spiritual 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.' Produced by Dave Bade (Sweet Colleens) and recorded at his home studio in Bloomington, MN, the album is wonderfully raw and acoustic, leaving the songs and characters to speak for themselves. It features guest appearances by acclaimed singer-songwriter Justin Roth and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Greenhouse (Sweet Colleens). Named one of the top local releases by St. Paul Pioneer Press critic Ross Raihala, Swing Low has garnered high praise for it's sparse production and sweet, lonesome songs.
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