“Cascade” is banjoist Wes Corbett’s first solo project since becoming the newest member of the Sam Bush Band. Corbett, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, now resides in Nashville where he also teaches banjo. Corbett cites his influences as Earl Scruggs’ banjo style, but also the melodic styles pioneered by Bill Keith and Bobby Thompson.
On this new release, Corbett introduces 10 original compositions which feature his variety of approaches to the music. He is joined on this project by Sierra Hull (mandolin), Casey Campbell (mandolin), Chris Eldridge (guitar), Paul Kowert (bass), Alex Hargreaves (fiddle), and Simon Chrisman (hammered dulcimer). Corbett states that the concept behind this project is to demonstrate his feeling that instrumental music can be as captivating to the listener as music with words, and that it can have at least as much emotional impact.
The selections show Corbett’s various playing styles, but what stands out is his deference to the melodic playing style, as demonstrated on the blazing opening cut “Boss Fight.” Other selections following this approach are “Camp Sherman,” “Light ‘Em Up,” “The Three Trees” and the neatly named “Dinosaur Birthday.” Slower selections include “Sweet Simone,” “Mary Evelyn,” “Long Winter.”
There is a nice tribute called “Stan Lee” in deference to the late Marvel Comics editor, and there is a wonderful waltz tune “Waltz For Courtney.”
Wes is joined on the recording by very capable Nashville musicians, so Cascade is a nice project that I would suggest for players of all levels.