Gritty Birds at Pickathon: Conversations with 10 String Symphony and Ezra Furman

Vortex Music Magazine

Pickathon may just be the happiest place on earth, according to 10 String Symphony. Listen to conversations with the fiddle duo and wunderkind Ezra Furman from the 18th edition of the fest, and then tune in to XRAY.fm every Wednesday from 1 to 1:30pm for new episodes.

10 String Symphony: Photo by Jeni Wren Stottrup—click to subscribe to Gritty Birds via iTunes and get new episodes delivered to your phone every Thursday10 String Symphony: Photo by Jeni Wren Stottrup—click to subscribe to Gritty Birds via iTunes and get new episodes delivered to your phone every Thursday“When we formed our band, one of our bands goals was to play at Pickathon," 10 String Symphony told Gritty Birds at the festival's 18th annual gathering in early August. "So now we kind of have to figure out where we go from here.”

After gracing Pickathon stages as side players for Langhorne Slim and Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys, Christian Sedelmyer and Rachel Baiman are starting to make a name for themselves as the Nashville-based fiddle duo 10 String Symphony. The “functional siblings” released Weight of the World last fall, which rose to #3 on the bluegrass charts, and have been featured on NPR's All Songs Considered.

Listen below to find out about the record that has been “a huge influence on the band” and about their recent experience playing with country artist Kacey Musgraves at her album release show in Nashville.

Ezra Furman at Pickathon on August 7, 2016—click to see more photos by Sam GehrkeEzra Furman at Pickathon on August 7, 2016—click to see more photos by Sam Gehrke“I started writing songs really quickly. Within a year of getting the guitar, I was writing my own songs," rocker Ezra Furman says. "I was really bad at playing songs and singing for a very long time. I’m still no virtuoso.”

Furman started playing music at 12 and has been setting his own standard ever since, always trying to push the envelop of the music and art he is creating. His shows are vibrant and filled with raw energy (including "a powerful, powerful set that was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed in eight years of attending Pickathon," according to Vortex's Ryan J. Prado), a contrast to his contemplative demeanor in person.

“I like putting a lot of pressure on myself like that. I like to feel sort of like... in my head at least, very competitive. I’m trying to be really great at this. I don’t want to do something that’s [just] good enough,” he explains.

The interview was interrupted by a Furman superfan, a federal investigator who had a burning question about the juxtaposition of his on and off stage presences. Check out the episode to find out the answer to her query.

Listen to the complete interviews below and then tune in to XRAY.fm every Wednesday from 1 to 1:30pm for new episodes of Gritty Birds (including more specials from Pickathon featuring Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Protomartyr, Boulevards and Palehound), plus find extended cuts on iTunes and read Darka Dusty's feature story Pickathon: The Rebel Festival.

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