The Jon Stickley Trio
The Jon Stickley Trio is a progressive ensemble from Asheville, North Carolina. They are rooted in the traditions of Bluegrass, but perform Gypsy Jazz and Folk-Punk as well. Although Stickley’s Trio is not at all a traditional Bluegrass group by any means, they are just nimble and ambitious enough to navigate breakbeats as effortlessly as the old timey standard ‘Blackberry Blossom'. Jon Stickley Trio is a genre-defying and cinematic instrumental trio whose deep grooves, innovative flatpicking and sultry, spacy violin moves the listener’s head, heart, and feet.
Back in the studio after beginning to return to live performance, Organic Records’ Jon Stickley Trio serves up another round of the acoustic guitar-violin-drum ensemble’s immediately recognizable sound with “Golden Eagle.” Combining the passionate intensity of in the moment improvisation with a witty, sophisticated approach to composition, “Golden Eagle” is a quintessential Trio number that goes a long way in explaining their growing appeal to fans from across the musical spectrum.
Opening with a flourish from drummer Hunter Deacon, “Golden Eagle” dives right into its first theme, with snarling, rhythmic guitar interrupted by lightning chromatic runs accompanied by Lyndsay Pruett’s energetic violin, then settles into a more lyrical passage that gives center stage to the latter, whose powerful bow arm leads back to the opening feel, this time with the violin holding on to the spotlight. A middle section focuses on a searing solo from guitarist Stickley as Pruett uses pizzicato figures alongside Deacon’s steady drumming to provide sympathetic backing. The virtuosic yet always accessible performance concludes with another visit to lyricism over increasingly active drumming before subsiding to a final contemplative chord, and in just under five minutes, the Trio has taken listeners on a complete journey.
“Over the pandemic break we just had, I spent a lot of time looking out the window with our infant son,” notes recent father Stickley. “We noticed a pair of Golden Eagles had made their home in a tree across the street. Every day we saw them dive bomb and hunt their prey, working together to deliver the food back to their nest. ‘Golden Eagle’ was inspired by this family of eagles that we watched grow. The rapid fire drums and guitar represent the intensity of the hunt. As the tune progresses, it eases into the feeling of joyful accomplishment of bringing new life into the world. This piece really gives Hunter a chance to let loose on the kit, churning out a blast of rhythms that tell a story of their own.”
This is not your father’s acoustic guitar music, although Stickley’s pop showed him his first chords when he was 12 years old. Instead, Stickley’s Martin churns out a mixture of Bluegrass, Chuck Berry, Metal, Prog, Grunge, and assorted other genres, all thoroughly integrated and blossoming into his own personal style.
With inspiration ranging from Green Day to Duran Duran to Tony Rice to Nirvana, Grateful Dead, David Grisman and beyond, the Trio, which features violinist Lyndsay Pruett and drummer Hunter Deacon, is making waves with their unique sound. Along with releasing two full length albums and one EP in the past few years, the Trio has zig-zagged the nation, though they still call Asheville, NC home. Stickley says, “The Trio feels fresher and hotter than ever, we’ve hit our stride in terms of creating tunes that are uniquely us and that’s a really exciting place to be musically.”
The Jon Stickley Trio reminds us of the pure joy that can be created and shared through their unique music and terrific musicianship and creativity.