You can help fund new Mark Rubin recording, "Songs for the Hangman's Daughter"
I try to find ways to explain what little I understand about Mark Rubin's music, but most tend to distract. He's been the linchpin of several Klezmer ensembles—that's how I first encountered him. But, he's also been the linchpin of a host of Americana bands, from Texas polka to bluegrass. He plays honest music astonishingly well, and he takes no bullshit from fellow musicians, so the whole damn thing tends to sound astonishingly well. An Ashkenaz performance where he played bass with Andy Statman (the always excellent Larry Eagle was on drums) remains one of my peak Andy Statman performances (and for that matter, a peak Ashkenaz concert). His first solo recording, "Southern Discomfort" featured his uncomfortable take on Leo Frank and other misfortunes, as well as some very fine picking. His appearance at the most recent Ashkenaz was wonderful, although I got a sense that people were looking for something a bit more … safe. By "safe," of course, I don't mean that this is avant garde music, but that it comes with the sort of chip on your shoulder you get when you are used to being the only Jew in a crowd of mostly non-Jewish folks full of their own tribal identities. I'd compare him to Kinky Friedman, but other than being Jewish and being associated with Texas, I'm not sure there is much else in common—although it is easy to compare "The Murder of Leo Frank" with "Ride 'em Jewboy" and "They don't make Jews like Jesus anymore."
Too many words. There is a new Mark Rubin recording coming. You can help make it happen: