Lydia Sylvia Martin: Celebrating diversity with the banjo

We invited banjo expert, Lydia Sylvia Martin, to WVUD to talk about her latest album “Chasing the Ghost.” In her new album, Lydia conveys the diversity of the banjo by combining old-time folk with blues and Irish music. Her main focus was to try and combine these styles of music to portray the beauty of diversity in the Appalachian region and the cultural history of the banjo.

Lydia doesn’t consider herself a singer but rather uses her voice as a second instrument to her banjo. Her style of music derives from her desire to showcase her passions and individualism. “Chasing the Ghost” is filled with impressive banjo-playing and equally as riveting storytelling.

The Interview

Lydia Sylvia Martin hosted by Mandorichard. Recorded live on Feb. 7, 2017.
55.4 MB

About our guest

Lydia Sylvia Martin is a Maryland-based musician who specializes in banjo-playing. She studied at the Levine School of Music, Goucher College, and Montgomery College. Lydia began playing music as a child with her family, The Martin Family Band. In addition to being an accomplished musician, Lydia is also a proud parent of a young toddler. When she’s not recording, teaching, or making special appearances, Lydia can be found spending time with her family and sharing her passions with others. Her new CD, Chasing the Ghost, has been recorded over the past several years, and was released in February 2017.

The Music

Artist Song Album Year
Lydia Sylvia Martin Dark Holler Blues Chasing the Ghost 2017
Lydia Sylvia Martin Jo Bones Chasing the Ghost 2017
Lydia Sylvia Martin C and O Train Chasing the Ghost 2017


Learn More

Richard Gordon: Producer, recording engineer, host, audio editor
Rachel Silva: Web page author, editor

Brad Kolodner: Charm City Junction

2591867 At the Delaware Valley Bluegrass festival on Sept. 4, 2016, Mandorichard sat down with Brad Kolodner, banjo player for the acoustic roots quartet, Charm City Junction. Brad is rooted in the traditions of Appalachian folk music, and embodies the next generation of old-time musicians both respecting the music that’s come before and modernizing the tradition with his artistic style and original compositions. In addition to touring and recording with Charm City Junction, Brad also performs with his father Ken Kolodner, a world-renowned hammered dulcimer player.

According to their website, Charm City Junction “creates a fresh soundscape” that has “taken the acoustic music scene by storm.” Patrick McAvinue, fiddle; Brad Kolodner, clawhammer banjo; Sean McComiskey, button accordion; and Alex Lacquement,upright bass blend their different musical backgrounds together creating a common ground on which to develop their unique sound. Charm City Junction released their debut album in the fall of 2015, and are at work on their next CD.

Mandorichard especially enjoyed talking with Brad about his gig as a weekly radio DJ for WAMU’s Bluegrass Country, a 24/7 Internet bluegrass and folk radio station in Washington D.C. “The Brad Kolodner Show” is a radio program that features contemporary bluegrass, americana and old-time music, as well as interviews with touring bands passing through the D.C. area.

To learn more about Brad and Charm City Junction, check-out our interview!

The Interview

Brad Kolodner hosted by Mandorichard. Recorded Sept. 4, 2016. First aired Oct. 4, 2016.
54.9 MB

The Music

Artist Song Album Year
Charm City Junction Train on the Island Charm City Junction 2015
 Ken and Brad Kolodner  Bradley’s Tune (excerpt)  Otter Creek  2010
Charm City Junction Joe Banes’ Barn Dance Charm City Junction 2015
Red Tail Ring I’d Rather Be The Devil (excerpt) Fall Away Blues 2016
Charm City Junction I’m Troubled Charm City Junction 2015

Russ Barenberg: Musical Dualities

Russ Barenberg

Russ Barenberg

Today on the Music Room, we talked to Russ Barenberg, described by songwriter Jon Weisberger as “perfectly blend[ing] a mastery of roots music tradition with melodic originality.”  His music is exceptionally lyrical, relying primarily on composition rather than tempo to provide the energy, and incorporating various genres and instruments.

This energy and collaborative spirit carries over into his own life.  Starting in 1970 on the guitar with the bluegrass group Country Cooking in Ithaca, NY, by 1977 he’d joined the electric string band Carried Away on the electric guitar, and in 1979 moved to Boston and joined the triple fiddle band Fiddle Fever, but not before recording his debut solo album Cowboy Calypsocalypso.

While he settled in Nashville by 1986, he has only continued traveling, visiting workshops throughout the United States and Europe as a teacher and educational author, and he has participated in Transatlantic Sessions, an international collaboration by artists in both the US and Europe, produced in Scotland, and producing TV episodes, live performances, and series albums.

Speaking of television, he also did extensive work in Ken Burns features, including the critically acclaimed film The Civil War, and his most recent solo album When at Last, with the single “Little Monk,” nominated for a 2008 Grammy (Best Country Instrumental Performance).


The Interview

Russ Barenberg
(Recorded live, September 15, 2015; host, Mandorichard)
20.7 MB

The Music

Artist / Song / Album / Year / Notes
Russ Barenberg / Cowboy Calypso / Cowboy Calypso / 1979 / (Excerpt in podcast)
Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg, & Edgar Meyer / The Travels of Mr. Hulot / Skip, Hop, and Wobble / 1993 / (Excerpt in podcast)
Russ Barenberg / Halloween Rehearsal / Halloween Rehearsal / 1987 / (Excerpt in podcast)
Russ Barenberg / Magic Foot / Moving Pictures / 1988 / (Excerpt in podcast)
Russ Barenberg / When at Last / When at Last / 2007 / (Excerpt in podcast)

(Note: Due to copyright considerations, the podcast contains excerpts of the music included in the full radio program.)