Curios: Scroggins and Rose

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CD REVIEW - CURIOS

by Mississippi Chris Sharp

Artist: Scroggins and Rose

Label: none listed

Artist Website:       scrogginsandrose.com            tristanscroggins.com

I was asked to review the new Scroggins and Rose CD, Curios, from mandolin virtuoso Tristan Scroggins and violinist Alisa Rose. They did not make it easy for me to review this new CD, which was scheduled for release on June 20, 2020. I stayed with it though, and thoroughly enjoyed wading through the mandolin and violin duets I heard from a streaming site. This all-instrumental CD feature just the mandolin and the violin, each instrument in the hands of masterful players, each instrument lending its assets to the overall sound, from the percussive chops on the mandolin, to the smooth legato of the violin. I don’t know where all the tunes come from, but the Soundcloud page from which I streamed the music credited six songs to Scroggins. Salute, Tristan, on a job well done.

The interplay between the mandolin and the fiddle was fabulous. This is not Bluegrass, but it is delightful acoustic music. Rose’s fiddle sojourns to dizzying heights while notes just explode from the mandolin. There is a lot of music happening from a duo, which when done right, as this is, makes it sound like a full band. This music is complex at times, rhythmically and sonically, making me think that the artists are either extremely well-rehearsed, or reading music from standard notation, or both, which is likely. At other times, the music is soft, lyrical without lyrics (a remarkable achievement), and gentle.

Several tunes can be called favorites, but hands down my favorite is Anxiety Jig, where the soft mandolin and the pizzicato violin interlude is simply outstanding. This is a pleasurable listen from start to finish, definitely scoring high on my want-to-hear-it-again-meter.

A note forwarded from the publicist stated: “Combining two lifetimes of commitment to craft, technique, and stylistic integrity, Scroggins, a mandolinist and second generation Bluegrass virtuoso, and Rose, a Grammy-nominated violinist, create creative contemporary roots music with the expression and detail of classical music, the ebullient drive of fiddle music, and the thrilling virtuosity of both traditions,” which is not an overstatement, and a sentence of fifty words that I admire, but not nearly so much as the music. 

Credits include Producer Wes Corbett (Sam Bush Band), Engineer Dave Sinko, and artwork by Grace Van’t Hof. The recording and mastering are superb. I would have liked to have seen more of the artwork from the CD, and the liner notes, but they were not available to me. I looked and looked and finally found the cover art for the CD on a website where it could be pre-ordered; nothing was shown on the artist’s websites, which is unfortunate.

2 thoughts on “Curios: Scroggins and Rose

  • July 1, 2020 at 3:48 pm
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    Although Mississippi Chris Sharp indicated above that “he doesn’t know where all the tunes come from,” it appears that he did not have the advantage of seeing the jacket. I can help because I received my CD as a gift about a week ago when Tristan and I had a lovely late lunch here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My jacket says that Tristan wrote Tracks 1, 4, 5, 10, 11, & 12, and that Alisa wrote tracks 2, 3, 6, 7, & 9. This leaves only track 8, which was written jointly by Tristan and Alisa. I have enjoyed this CD immensely.

    As Tristan’s first long-term teacher, this wonderful career of his is a matter of great pride for me. So many years ago the relationship transformed from Teacher-Student to what I hope will remain friends for life. This transition will be complete for me when I attend a Summer camp where I am the paying student and where Tristan is the teacher. This will complete the circle. I can hardly wait.

    Bob Fisher
    bob@rafisher.com
    Santa Fe, NM

    Reply
  • August 5, 2020 at 9:24 am
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    Bob:
    Thanks for filling us in on the songwriting credits. All original music, which I suspected, is much respected. I prefer having the CD in my hands so I can see exactly what the purchaser will see; in this case I did not have that opportunity. An email request for more information received no response. I searched the web but never found a link to the CD package info. While I did not enjoy having to listen to the music on a streaming site, I sincerely enjoyed the music far, far more than any perceived inconvenience.

    Best Wishes, Bob Fisher, and Scroggins & Rose.

    Reply

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