Jon Stickley Trio invited friends and fans to Asheville, North Carolina’s The Grey Eagle for an intimate pre-release show of their upcoming studio album Maybe Believe earlier this month. The trio is comprised of flatpicking guitar phenom Jon Stickley, violin virtuoso Lyndsay Pruett, and the booming Patrick Armitage on drums.
They began their set with three songs from the upcoming album, giving fans a chance to catch a glimpse into the Trio’s direction. Known for pushing the limits of their music, the band often times performs in an orchestral tone allowing fans to drift off into their own imaginary cinematic visions.
The songs from JST’s new album featured the harmonies fans have come to expect between Jon and Lyndsay. One of the tracks featured an intense Latin element infused with metal tones before finishing in a traditional bluegrass breakdown. The final song of their album tease featured Lyndsay leading the trio, hypnotizing the audience with her violin.
Jon Stickley then took a moment to thank the crowd for all their support throughout this musical journey. “Thank you, we couldn’t be here without you,” he said. Fans have had a big hand in the band’s success, crowdfunding two albums for the band and booking private performances with the band to showcase their talents to friends in intimate settings. The connection between the band and their ravenous fans was palpable.
A speedy “Blackberry Blossom” came next and left the crowd stomping around the venue. In true JST style they made the track all their own, crossing the boundaries of what is typically allowable with this cover. This is one reason the band has become highly coveted – the ability to transform a well-known bluegrass breakdown into their own unique creation.
The band then took another moment to address their admiration for their fans and their generosity. Since their project has a grassroots emphasis, Jon Stickley reached out to Asheville artist Francis Dominguez to create the album’s artwork; describing the art as what he believes the music would be in physical form. It only took her a day to complete the album cover, while listening to the new album for inspiration.
“Rice Dream,” an ode to Tony Rice, came next with a comical “Law and Order Theme” tease from Jon. This track sways between heavier riffs and the trio’s more traditional flatpicking style. Jon Stickley took a second to discuss Tony Rice, a flatpicking legend who greatly influenced his work, before diving into a cover of his song “Manzanita.” It was plain to see how Jon drew influence from this guitarist, and revered his music.
“Microbruise,” from their upcoming album, wrapped things up before their exciting encore. The new track sounded on par for the trio’s unmistakable brand of flatpicking accompanied by infectious violin and energetic drumming. During the chorus, the first few rows of fans in front of the stage had their hands thrown in the air as they jumped for joy.
An exciting medley of popular covers brought things to a close. Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and “ABC” by the Jackson 5 made prominent appearances during this mesmerizing remix. It is common in DJ culture to produce a mashup for fan fare, yet when an instrumental trio breaks out a similar rendition it is vastly more impressive and stimulating. Lastly, “Flight of the Durban,” from their debut album Lost at Last, ended the night in a bit of nostalgia, for a band with a very big future in store.
Jon Stickley Trio’s, Maybe Believe, will be released on May 12. Stay tuned for a full review from The Poke Around.