Tune in and listen to Karmen by founding member Vince Brown

Now streaming on all major services like Pandora (link here) and Spotify (link here) 

The seventh release from our 2003 album ‘Digga Digga Do’ is ‘Karmen’ composed by founding member Vince Brown, now streaming everywhere. Vince explains how: “Karmen is based on ‘L’amour est un oiseau rebelle’, also known as ‘The Habanera’, which is the aria Carmen sings when she first appears in Georges Bizet’s opera of the same name.” Drawing upon the melody’s chromatic movements in the impassioned opening lines, Vince then applied a snappy tempo and we gave it our own creative treatment just like we’d been doing with the Django tunes in our repertoire.

 

The title track from our 2003 album ‘Digga Digga Do’ is now streaming. Tune in and listen on Pandora (link here) or Spotify (link here) .

Hatch Show Print masterfully created flaming baguette artwork to celebrate the CD Release. Our version was inspired by Oscar Alemán’s 1947 recording on the Acoustic Disc reissue CD entitled Swing Guitar Masterpieces, especially the violin work of Manuel Gavinovich and vocals by Alemán.
 
The song was originally composed for the musical ‘Blackbirds in 1928′ by the legendary Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh. Duke Ellington recorded ‘Diga Diga Doo’ the same year with his orchestra and Irving Mills on vocals. Ellington cut several versions with various ensembles, as did Mills, and there are a zillion classic recordings of the song, including by many of the greatest bands (also several spellings of the title).
 
You’ll find a guitar transcription of this song and a dozen more in the book compiled by Greg Ruby entitled Oscar Alemán Play-Along Songbook Vol. I. Find it here: https://gregrubymusic.com/product/the-oscar-aleman-play-along-songbook-vol-1-digital-download/

 

“HCS Strut” is now streaming. Check it out at Pandora or Spotify

Twenty years ago, our violinist Tim Wetmiller composed HCS Strut, adding to the tradition of ‘strut’ songs, celebrations of self-glorification and shameless displays of pride. Strut songs might have a couple extra measures somewhere, like a backstep to make the strut extra fancy. In HCS Strut, Tim’s composition references Django and Grappelli’s ‘HCQ Strut’, named for their legendary quintet and recorded in 1939 in London.

 

“Tain’t No Use,” our fourth archival release, is now live on all the streaming platforms.
Check it out on Pandora (link) or Spotify (link)
and give it a spin.

“Tain’t No Use” features the vocals of Rich Sikorski and a guitar contribution from founding member Vince Brown. We first heard this song on Stuff Smith and his Onyx Boys (Onyx Club 1936-1939). Naturally, we shaped the arrangement in our own way: Greg Ruby’s guitar introduction of a few, sweet melodic bars leads into Sikorski’s vocals, his velvet croon eases into the plaintive tune with delicate turns of phrase. The archtop guitar of Vince Brown responds to the vocal, leading up to his own solo. Matt Sircely’s lyrical mandolin improvisation references the melody with a bluesy bend. And from the first note, upright bass is at the center of the sound. James Schneider drops into a bass solo right before Sikorski sings the final refrain.

 

Chances are you have seen us perform this legendary melody if you have been to any of our concerts in the past 20 years: ‘Two Guitars’ is now streaming, the third release from our 2003 record Digga Digga Do.

Check it out on platforms like Pandora: https://pandora.app.link/mfGvHzkv6Fb or Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5s4Q9vvImRV20P283VVFLj Composed by Ivan Vasiliev to accompany a romantic poem by Russian poet Apollon Grigoriev, ‘Two Guitars’ has widely traveled the world for more than a century and a half. From all the classic recordings by great artists, Greg, Tim and Matt each brought one of their favorites: a version by guitar giant Tchan-Tchou Vidal recorded in 1950s Paris, one by jazz violinist Eddie South and His Alabamians recorded in Paris in the late ‘20s, and one from Kyiv-born mandolinist Dave Apollon and His Orchestra as seen and heard in a 1933 musical comedy film.

 

 

After twenty years, “Brazil” is finally available on all streaming platforms, the second digital release from our 2003 record Digga Digga Do. Head over to Pandora (click here) or Spotify (click here) and give “Brazil” a spin.

After hearing the theme song to the Terry Gilliam film “Brazil,” our bassist James Schneider brought it to the band and it instantly became one of our favorites. Our friend Juan Carlos Serbulo Sosa sang the lyrics. With influences from Django, Les Paul and Jacob do Bandolim, we added our own personal pastiche to the song. Listen on Pandora or Spotify (click here)

 

 

After twenty years, the False Valse is finally available on all streaming platforms. Head over to Pandora (click here) or Spotify (click here) and give the False Valse a spin. The first track on Digga Digga Do (2003), False Valse was composed by Greg Ruby in the back of Vince Brown’s Volkswagen van while on tour near Eugene, Oregon.

False Valse explores the addition and subtraction of a single beat, oscillating between 5/4 and 3/4 time. The song, in a sense, represented the ‘signature sound’ of the band at the time – keeping one foot in tradition and one foot stretching for continuous experimentation and self-discovery. The melody starts low and sings high with Tim Wetmiller’s violin and Ruby’s guitar matched in tandem, then harmonizing as the False Valse enters 3/4 waltz time. Matt Sircely’s mandolin tremolo flows into Ruby’s punctuated guitar solo, he builds to a powerful chord melody before an outro of contrapuntal whole tones. This photo of the original lineup was snapped at the 4th Ave Tavern in downtown Olympia. The cover art was painted by Tracy Bigelow Grisman. See more of Tracy’s work here: acousticdisc.com/posters

 
Listen to the No Pressure album on Youtube

No Pressure is a special addition to the HCS catalog, featuring a guest appearance from mandolin master David “Dawg” Grisman. The cover art was painted by Tracy Grisman, who also sings the final song. A few years ago, the band spent a few winter days together, improvising a recording studio in old boarding house on the Olympic Peninsula. The occasion yielded fourteen songs recorded fireside. In addition to playing mandolin on half of the songs, Dawg offered creative advice for crafting arrangements. Grisman’s composition “Swang Thang” leads off the record with twin mandolins on the melody. “Winter Rain” and the title track, “No Pressure” were composed by the band’s seasoned guitarist Ray Wood with his songwriting partner Vann Cantin. Hoagy Carmichael’s “Rockin’ Chair” precedes a Peruvian waltz from the same era. Also see this preview article in No Depression about Blackpot Coozie.

We will forever mourn the tragic passing of Joseph Mascorella due to unexpected illness in October, 2022. Joseph’s salient vocals and brilliant drumming continue to shine our most recent recording . We hold his memory in our hearts every single day.

 

And If Only (2010) – Hot Club Sandwich with Dan Hicks

The fourth release from Seattle-based Hot Club Sandwich takes place squarely in Hicksville with a guest vocal performance by Dan Hicks (Charlatans, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks) on “I Can’t Believe that You’re in Love with Me”, and “Cow Cow Boogie”. From there, And If Only takes listeners along a winding musical road filled with yodeling cowboys, a band of Mexican violinists, and spirited Django jazz guitar slingers. The Hot Club Sandwich sound blends reverence for traditions with vibrant acoustic interplay, which shines in the group’s many original compositions, including the title track composed by Ray Wood, “And If Only.”

Purchase And If Only at Djangobooks.com

Below are two videos of our group performing with Dan at DjangoFest Northwest 2007.

Listen to songs from Green Room (2007):