Ivan Rosenberg | Clawhammer and Dobro

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Download the CD at iTunes Ivan Rosenberg's Website Ivan Rosenberg "Ashes and Coals" "The Donkeys" - Ivan Rosenberg & Billy Cardine CD Ivan Rosenberg "Back to the Pasture"

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Country: Old-Timey Folk: String Band Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Clawhammer and Dobro

by Ivan Rosenberg

2009 Just Plain Folks Awards Nominee * One-of-a-kind merging of bluegrass & old time sounds. "One of the best instrumental albums I've heard this year" -Donald Nitchie, Banjo Newsletter. "A musical delight" -Bluegrass Unlimited
Genre: Country: Old-Timey
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hamish's Morphine Pill
3:51 $0.99
2. Quackalactic Breakdown
3:33 $0.99
3. The Creptid Mule
3:59 $0.99
4. Skunk Ate the Mothballs
3:47 $0.99
5. Poor Ellen Smith
3:51 $0.99
6. Big Arm, Montana
4:09 $0.99
7. Rope-A-Dope
4:23 $0.99
8. Terrapenne
1:32 $0.99
9. Fly Up the River
4:34 $0.99
10. Pig Shack
3:37 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Ivan Rosenberg is regarded as one of the most creative performers of original Dobro and clawhammer banjo music, with 4 solo CDs to his credit as well as collaborative recordings with Billy Cardine, Chris Stuart, The Breakmen, and Mighty Squirrel. Combining elements of bluegrass, old time, and Americana music, Ivan's original songs have appeared in over 125 television and film scores including HBO's Making Deadwood, The Daily Show, Oprah, Warner Brothers' Kangaroo Jack, the sci-fi cult hit Serenity: Collector's Edition DVD, and the Emmy-nominated documentary "Libby, Montana."
Since releasing his first solo album in 2001, Ivan Rosenberg has gained a dedicated following for his independently-produced ‘boutique’ recordings of melodic, expressive acoustic music on Dobro and clawhammer banjo. Millions have heard his original songs in the background of over 300 television programs and films including The Daily Show, Oprah, Call of the Wildman, History Detectives, HBO's Making Deadwood, the Special Edition DVD of Serenity, and the Hollywood blockbuster Kangaroo Jack. In recent years, he earned an IBMA Award for co-writing the 2009 Song of the Year; played on the CD Southern Filibuster: A Tribute to Tut Taylor (produced by Grammy winner and Dobro legend Jerry Douglas); engineered and co-produced recordings for some of the most original voices in west coast roots music (Pharis and Jason Romero, John Reischman, The Breakmen, Kevin Brown, Evie Ladin Band, and more); and performed throughout North America with musicians such as Chris Coole and Chris Jones. Ivan is also in high demand as an instructor, having taught a combined 40 weeks at music workshops such as Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp, The California Bluegrass Association Music Camp, 108 Mile Cabin Fever Bluegrass Workshop, NBCMS Acoustic Music Workshop, the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, SoreFingers, the Grand Targhee Music Camp, and others.

Press Quotes:

“One of the best instrumental recordings I've heard this year is Ivan Rosenberg's Clawhammer and Dobro. Ivan is a banjo and resonator guitar player who writes simply irresistible tunes in that wide-open, almost-no-man's-land between contemporary bluegrass and old time”
– Donald Nitchie, editor of Banjo Newsletter

"We are in the presence of a beautifully rendered small masterpiece..."
- Robert Amyot, Trad Magazine (France)

“Once again, Ivan Rosenberg has created a musical delight with Clawhammer and Dobro, a welcomed variation from the ordinary.”
– Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine

“If you’ve ever seen Ivan play, you know what an innovative musician he is, but hearing this steady-moving and unusual album will convince you that Rosenberg was, indeed, beamed to this planet by someone or something that had a higher place in mind for the resonator guitar and the banjo....”
– Montana Rockies Bluegrass Association Newsletter

“Ivan has mastered the lyrical, mood-sustaining power of the resonator guitar.”
— California Bluegrass Association Newsletter

“It is only a matter of time until Ivan Rosenberg becomes universally recognized as one of the more prolific masters of the resonator guitar.”
– Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine

“Ivan Rosenberg plays his original tunes with stirring soul and emotion... While some of his tunes evoke vivacious spirit into your dancin’ shoes, Ivan seems particularly adept at mood creation.”
Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now



to write a review

Banjo Newsletter

Among the best instrumental CDs of 2006. It will inspire and delight
One of the best instrumental recordings I've heard this year is Ivan Rosenberg's Clawhammer and Dobro. Ivan is a banjo and resonator guitar player who writes simply irresistable tunes in that wide-open, almost-no-man's-land between contemporary bluegrass and old time, similar to Mark Johnson and Mark Schatz...

While I'm assuming that Ivan is mostly a dobro player, his clawhammer playing and the tunes he writes for clawhammer will inspire and delight those who are interested in where clawhammer will be going next. If that sounds like you, get this cd.
--Donald Nitchie, Banjo Newsletter Dec. 2006

Vue Weekly

....there could be no finer soundtrack for a day on the roads.....
I spent the day with this album while driving through several of the small, outlying towns which surround Edmonton. The truth is, there could be no finer soundtrack for a day on the roads, rolling through the gentle prairies of this province. Ivan Rosenberg is an accomplished player out of Bellingham, Washington who plays clawhammer, banjo and the resonator guitar. Rosenberg’s choice of instruments (as well as those of the other players—guitar, mandolin and fiddle) gives Clawhammer a sepia-like shading. Some of Rosenberg’s music has appeared in the western series Deadwood and it’s easy to understand why.

Thankfully, Rosenberg does more than just picking out the notes: he also writes damn fine songs. Though most are instrumentals, every song is memorable, from “Hamish’s Morphine Pill” to “The Creptid Mule,” creeping their way into the mind just as any catchy vocal tune would. The one exception to the instrumental approach is the album’s centerpiece, a haunting version of the traditional murder ballad “Poor Ellen Smith,” featuring Rosenberg harmonizing with Mary Lucey’s mournful vocal.

After that, “Big Arm, Montana” kicks off the second half of the album as though Rosenberg is sending a bunch of cowboys off on a cattle drive all the way to Abilene and, save for the slow slide of “Terrapenne,” the last few songs continue in this energetic direction. Hell, just sitting here listening to the disc makes me want to get right back out there on the road.

California Bluegrass Association Newsletter

wonderful blends of instruments, fun flavor, good listening!
Ivan Rosenberg is an accomplished master of resophonic guitar and clawhammer banjo and while the two instruments are seldom paired together, he’s managed to marry the sounds of the two into a happy and fruitful union. Ivan’s banjo playing has a strong melodic flavor and his resophonic guitar happily bends and turns and fills the musical pools with sustained melodies. Mason Tuttle’s guitar and mandolin add rhythms and contrasts to many of the songs. The songs range from fast-paced, bluegrass inspired tunes to melodic minor key excursions like the “The Creptid Mule.” “Pig Shack” has a call and response response melody with the dobro and mandolin that has all the energy of a pile of pigs jockeying for top porker. Even without Ivan’s colorful titles, the wonderful blends of the instruments have a fun flavor that makes the songs good listening and a great stress reliever at the end of a long day.

Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine

A musical delight, a welcomed variation from the ordinary
Ivan Rosenberg is probably best recognized for his tenure with such groups as Slowdrag and Chris Stuart & Back Country. For his latest recording project, he has merged two diverse traditional instruments to create a highly effective and thoroughly enjoyable production. This mostly instrumental package features Ivan on both clawhammer banjo and resonator guitar, supported by several guest artists including fiddler Chad Manning and Jon Stickley (mandolin). The ten selections include original pieces with catchy names such as "Fly Up The River," "Skunk Ate The Mothballs," and "Rope-A-Dope." Ivan also takes the lead on the disc's lone vocal, "Poor Ellen Smith." Once again, Ivan Rosenberg has created a musical delight with "Clawhammer And Dobro," a welcomed variation from the ordinary.

Joe Ross

...and 1/2 .... Ivan's a master at creating musical moods
Playing Time – 37:16 -- It’s a fact that many musicians learn another instrument before learning resonator guitar. In Ivan Rosenberg’s case, I presume that he might have mastered guitar or banjo back in Missouri before transferring some of his musical skills to the Dobro. Now, the Bellingham, Wa. resident plays his original tunes with the same kind of stirring soul and emotion that they’d be sung if they had been composed with lyrics. While some of his tunes evoke vivacious spirit into your dancin’ shoes, Ivan seems particularly adept at mood creation. Some of his tunes produce a vocal-like atmosphere, while others seem to forge a soulful interplay of instruments. Take, for instance, his banjo and Dobro harmony on the opening cut. We could’ve used some more of that sweet harmony here and there, like perhaps in “Skunk Ate the Mothballs” or in “Rope-a-Dope” where we’re only given a very minute taste of harmony in the tune’s ending.

When reviewing a resonator guitar project, I particularly listen for good intonation control (getting all the notes just right on pitch with your left hand). That’s got to take a lot of practice and skill, and Ivan’s well-rehearsed success is most apparent when he is challenged with fast-moving slides in the second track, “Quackalactic Breakdown,” and truckin’ break on “Rope-a-Dope.” For a change-up at track five, Ivan and co. sing one number, a different kind of futuristic rendition of “Poor Ellen Smith.” At least 180-degrees from Jimmy Martin’s version, Ivan’s rendition of the North Carolina murder ballad incorporates considerable discretion with lyrics and melody as he sings “Nobody knows how I love Ellen, nobody knows.” While his story line lacks all the details of the original lyrics, Ivan’s tale hits the basic essentials of Ellen being shot, her body carried away, and the warden freeing the prisoner. The boy’s clearly cut his teeth on traditional music at some point in his career before embarking on his innovative route of originality.

Clawhammer banjo and Dobro are very complementary instruments that work well together in the hands of a proficient player like Ivan who has an extensive discography (as both soloist and session musician), along with many TV and film credits. Mood-master Rosenberg also primarily calls on splendid acousticians Mason Tuttle (guitar, bass, mandolin) and David Keenan (National resophonic guitar). Chad Manning adds his fiddle wizardry to one cut, “Big Arm Montana,” and Mary Lucey’s eerie harmony is only heard on the one haunting vocal number. Jon Stickley’s mandolin only appears in the mix of “Big Arm Montana” and “Pig Shack.” Thus, arrangements are very clean with just enough instrumentation to make for clarion sound. Tuttle’s lead guitar break (and solid bass foundation) on “The Creptid Mule” are noteworthy. The album, recorded at Indidog Studio in North Carolina, gets full-bodied tonal contributions from the instruments. The set canters along with moderately-tempo’ed pieces, and perhaps a little more variety in tempo (along with a “chad” more fiddle) would have taken us through a few more up’s and down’s along the 37-minute buoyant journey. “Terrapenne” may be only a minute and a half, but the slower solo piece provides an opportunity for the set to breathe and blossom. This album would be a perfect listen while cruising along the Blue Ridge Parkway on some other scenic backcounty byway on a beautiful spring day. The vernal nature of this album is its very strength. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)

Dave Higgs--Nashville Public Radio

thoughful originals with memorable melody lines, subtlety and lyricism
Many thanks for sending us a copy of your killer new CD. And I mean KILLER! Your command of the clawhammer banjo is just staggering--you get a big, fat, meaty tone that you put to good use on your arresting original material which you can tell are going to be special just from the titles alone: "Skunk Ate the Mothballs," "Hamish's Morphine Pill," "Big Arm, Montana" and "Pig Shack." These are thoughful originals--bursting not only with memorable melody lines, but subtlety and lyricism which are always the hallmarks of great tunes. I also enjoyed your singing on and neat arrangement of "Poor Ellen Smith" which is one of the album's highlights. This is great stuff--I can't get enough!

Thanks again for the sublime tunes, my friend. I'll be doing my best to get the word out in Nashville and in our other syndicated locations which now includes bluegrasscountry.org.

Dave Higgs,
Nashville Public Radio,
Bluegrass Breakdown

Robert Amyot - Trad Magazine, France

a beautifully rendered small masterpiece
Par la magie du re-recording, Ivan Rosenberg nous gratifie d’une galette où il joue, avec une brillance et un équilibre inégalés, l’openback old time banjo et le dobro (guitare à système de résonateur). Quelques invités viennent délicatement enrober le tout avec une touche de mandoline, une ligne de basse et un soupçon de violon, ou devrais-je dire “fiddle”. Nous voici en présence d’un petit chef-d’œuvre de pièces originales plutôt bien tournées, sauf pour la chanson traditionnelle “Poor Ellen Smith”, délicieusement arrangée. Une musique qui avance sans à-coups, sans accélérations brusques. De la fraîcheur, oui, avec ces nouveaux morceaux, mais une chaleur de timbres à couper le souffle. Et en avant que les images défilent comme un paysage de chaque côté d’un hypothétique “highway” qui n’en finirait pas. Le swing est constant, la pulse sans pareil. Les tempos, longtemps éprouvés, sont parfaits, idéaux. Pour ce qui est de titres évocateurs : “Skunk Ate the Mothballs” (Le putois a mangé la naphtaline) ; “Pig Shack” (La cabane aux cochons) ; ou encore, tenez-vous bien, “Hamish’s Morphine Pill” (et là je vous laisse traduire).


With the magic of multi-tracking, Ivan Rosenberg pleases us with a "gallette" (a plain cake that's a vehicle for the chef's imagination) on which he plays oldtime openback banjo and dobro (resonator guitar) with unequaled brilliance and poise. A select few have been invited to help delicately drape the whole with a touch of mandolin, a bass line, a dash of violin or should I say fiddle. We are in the presence of a beautifully rendered small masterpiece of original tunes and one traditional song, Poor Ellen Smith, which have been deliciously arranged. This is music that unfolds without jarring bumps or sudden accelerations. There is a freshness to these new pieces, yes, but also a warmth of sound that takes the breath away. It evokes images that pass before the eyes like the landscape on each side of a hypothetical highway that will never end. The swing is constant, the pulse is unparalleled. The tempos are well tested, perfect, ideal. The titles are strangely evocative: Skunk Ate the Mothballs, Pig Shack, or even, brace yourself Hamish's Morphine Pill.

Caroline Keys -- MRBA Newsletter

All 10 tracks are complete bliss to listen to...
Lucky for us, former Missoulian Ivan Rosenberg had the guts to meddle with the age-old pairing of fiddle and banjo by removing the fiddle and inserting his own delicate Dobro. On his latest release he couples the seemingly strange stringed bedfellows and the outcome is a an exquisite set of original and traditionalcompositions. Rosenberg’s arrangements and delivery on this album are so strong that it wouldn't be surprising if clawhammer-Dobro duos catch on and Ivan’s record sets the precedent for a new style of acoustic music. Some of the beauty of this album comes form the subdued musical contributions of Mason Tuttle, David Keenan, Chad Manning, Mary Lucey, and Jon Stickley. The listener even gets treated to Ivan’s lovely singing voice on “Poor Ellen Smith”- a rare thing to behold indeed! Mary Lucey’s harmony vocals make that sole singin’ song a haunting treat to listeners’ ears. If you’ve ever seen Ivan play, you know what an innovative musician he is, but hearing this steady-moving and unusual album will convince you that Rosenberg was, indeed, beamed to this planet by someone or something that had a higher place in mind for the resonator guitar and the banjo. "Clawhammer and Dobro" is available at Ivan’s website: www.ivanrosenberg.com. Get it! All 10 tracks are complete bliss to listen to, it won’t leave your CD player alone.