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Charlie Ballantine

“There’s this sound I hear in my head, I get really close, but I can never quite attain it. It's hard to say, it’s hard to verbalize, but it's a pretty fun time to be a guitar a young guitar player right now.”

An arc of mystery and music stretches across America like a vein of gold, an eternal blue highway that grows mired in fable as time both adds to and erases it. What Greil Marcus called “the old, weird America” can be heard in the music of Robert Johnson and Santo and Johnny and Tammy Wynette and Duane Allman, from the dark underbelly birthed in New Orleans that extends across the plains from Bakersfield, California, to Macon, Georgia; from Roscoe Holcomb’s “high lonesome sound” to Bob Dylan’s “wild mercury sound.” And it can most definitely be heard in the reflective, lightning-flash-of-brilliance that is the music of 29-year-old Charlie Ballantine.


Article: Catching Up With

Charlie Ballantine: Jazz Guitar Without Borders

Read "Charlie Ballantine: Jazz Guitar Without Borders" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

jny: Indianapolis-born jazz guitarist/composer Charlie Ballantine has a special relationship with American music of all kinds: jazz, folk, the blues (his father was a blues guitarist, providing some of Ballantine's earliest musical memories) and contemporary rock. He is acclaimed as one of the finest and most versatile young guitarists on the scene today. Yours truly described ...


Falling Grace

Label: Self Produced
Released: 2022
Track listing: Thank You; Sweet Tooth; River's Dream; Contemplation; Fix You; Snow Angel; Falling Grace; Contemplation.


Cicada Songs

Label: Mind Beach Records
Released: 2022
Track listing: June; Cicada Song; Alter Ego; Remember the Birds; Porch Cat; Insomnia; What a Day; Ami's Lullaby.


Article: Album Review

Charlie Ballantine: Falling Grace

Read "Falling Grace" reviewed by Robert Middleton

At 33, Ballantine has recorded eight albums and they are all gems. His range is wide and eclectic with tributes to Bob Dylan, Thelonious Monk and Kurt Vonnegut. But his December 2022 release stands out as a masterpiece of artistry, melody, and deep feeling. Falling Grace doesn't hit one over the head right away, but you ...


Article: Album Review

Quinn Sternberg: Cicada Songs

Read "Cicada Songs" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

On Cicada Songs, bassist Quinn Sternberg paints a dreamy portrait of a languid summer evening at home, a visit to a comfortable front porch full of snoozing dogs, meandering cats, and the natural summer serenade of its title track. The first Cicada song is “June," Sternberg and company's collective musing about what Sternberg's beloved ...


Article: From the Inside Out

Demons and Wizards, June Bugs and Jakarta

Read "Demons and Wizards, June Bugs and Jakarta" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Hermeto Pascoal Planetario Da Gavea Far Out Recordings 2022 Planetario Da Gavea is an enormous, sprawling document from a February 1981 outdoor performance series by Brazilian jazz wizard Hermeto Pascoal recorded under the stars in the Gávea neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, within the dome of ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

McCoy Tyner & Nicholas Payton

Read "McCoy Tyner & Nicholas Payton" reviewed by Joe Dimino

On the final episode of 2021, we profile the author of Black American Music, Nicholas Payton. We also look at a collection of musicians that made the world of jazz a memorable one in 2021. They include Charlie Ballantine, Beth McKenna, Alex Brown and Angel Roman. Additionally, we profile the musicians who make these musicians who ...


Article: Album Review

Charlie Ballantine: Reflections/Introspection: The Music Of Thelonious Monk

Read "Reflections/Introspection: The Music Of Thelonious Monk" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Reflections/Introspection... follows-up guitarist Charlie Ballentine's Life is Brief: The Music of Bob Dylan, the guitarist's tribute to another (and very different type of) iconoclastic modern composer and one of the best albums of 2018. He absolutely bounces through this double-LP (one trio, one quartet) on a merry joyride through the compositions of “the onliest Monk."


Reflections/Introspection: The Music Of Thelonious Monk

Label: Green Mind Records
Released: 2021
Track listing: Reflections; Bemsha Swing; Off Minor; Ugly Beauty; Raise Four; Bemsha Swing (Alternate Take); Pannonica (Solo); Brilliant Corners; Green Chimneys; Introspection; Evidence; Ask Me Now; Monk's Dream; Brilliant Corners (Alternate Take); Let's Cool One.


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