This album represents a labor of love for two friends and mutual musical admirers. I first met Robin at the Wayne Henderson Festival and Contest in 2005. Robin was a judge of the guitar contest and I won that year. Some recall Robin hurrying out of the judging booth asking, "Who played that Forked Deer?" Later that year we got to spend some quality time together at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS, where we both competed in the National Flatpicking Championship. I took second place that year. Robin had already claimed his championship in 1985, and I eventually won in 2008. In subsequent years Robin and I found ourselves on faculty together at Steve Kaufman's Acoustic KAMP in Maryville, TN, and Augusta Bluegrass Week in Elkins, WV, where we built up a friendship and some good twin guitar arrangements for the evening concerts. One night at a jam session Robin asked, "How old are you?" On my response, Robin said, "You're the same age as one of my boys." That's when Robin became my Flatpicking "Pa" and I became Robin's Flatpicking "Son". We like to carry on with this role for a good laugh every now and then: "Don't thrash me Pa, I been practicing!"…"Son, Get a switch…" The opportunity finally arrived in August 2017. I secured a few days off of my busy Summer schedule of performances with Grant Farm following Augusta Bluegrass Week, rented a car, and drove to St. Albans, the Kessingers' hometown in Kanawha County, WV, to stay with Robin and his wife Mary for a few days. Robin's nephew-in-law, Bud Carroll, a veteran musician and studio engineer, had just relocated his Trackside Studios to his cabin home near Point Pleasant, WV. Bud had the days available. The tracking took place Monday and Tuesday, Aug 7-8. Robin and I had communicated ahead of time about a few songs and tunes, and we had a couple existing arrangements, but most of the program was worked up the evening before tracking. We both wanted to dig up some long-time Kessinger family songs and tunes that Robin had learned from his Great-Uncle, Clark, and his Dad, Bob. Many of these had not been played in a while. Clark Kessinger was one of the most renowned and influential old-time fiddlers of all time, and Bob Kessinger was a well-known mandolinist and singer who performed with The Mountaineers for many years on WCHS TV and Radio in Charleston, WV. Bud set up a guitar mic and vocal mic for each player and a couple nice microphones in the room to capture the vibe and the live sound. There was very little separation between Tyler and Robin, and no headphones. Just two fellas pickin' and singin' in a room together. The result is a real performance and a time capsule of this moment of inspiration. There are more details in the liner notes track-by track, and there is a deep well of further research into the Kanawha County Kessinger music available to explore. I thought it was important to share some of the history of this music to connect the roots to this new branch. We hope you gain as much from this project as we did. - Tyler Grant, Fort Collins, CO - June 2018
GOALS: This album turned out so real and authentic that we decided to invest in a radio promotion and PR campaign. This adds several thousand dollars to our budget and goal, and we feel it is essential to give Kanawha County Flatpicking an opportunity to become the classic that we believe it is.
Risks and challenges
Not much at risk here besides obvious technical considerations like CD printing and shipping. We expect this to all run on time. If anything comes up that is slowing the process we will let you know.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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