Often, the experience of darkness comes with glimmers of light, and the Jon Stickley Trio’s lively new instrumental single, “In and About,” proves that this is true even of the absolute darkest of times.
Based out of Asheville, North Carolina, the band is composed of guitarist Jon Stickley, violinist Lyndsay Pruett, and drummer Hunter Deacon (who joined the group in early 2018). Having come from quite different musical backgrounds, each member of the trio brings something unique to the group, such as Stickley’s lighting-speed flatpicking and Pruett’s impressive range in fiddle styles.
As a collective, though, the Jon Stickley Trio’s specialty is not any one individual skill or style, but rather the ability to cohesively bounce off one another while exploring a number of diverse genres. Having experimented with everything from traditional bluegrass to more upbeat jazz to folk punk with metal influences, the group has spent the past nine years evolving, exploring, and defining its primarily instrumental sound, highlighted by the intricate yet cohesive weaving of Stickley’s guitar and Pruett’s fiddle.
“In and About,” which follows the group’s 2020 album Scripting the Flip and previous single “Future Ghost,” is the latest culmination of this wide-ranging creative exploration. Opening with nimble bluegrass guitar and spry Celtic fiddle, the song immediately drops the listener in a long field bathing in sunlight and encourages them to run — not because they need to but because they finally can. As the song progresses, the listener may periodically slow down to a walk and closely examine the song’s more subtle jazz and folk influences.
By centering a rhythm that repeatedly builds and drops, the trio uses their musical tools and open-minded sense of creativity to express a cycle of anxiety and peace. Without any words, “In and About” seamlessly expresses both unease and gratitude, sentiments that have been universally experienced over the past year. The group made an intentional choice to include moments of light alongside the dark, and in the end, “In and About” envelops listeners with those contrasts as well as unique yet familiar acoustics.
“In and About” may be the perfect soundtrack for our newfound lust for life, but the Jon Stickley Trio has a decent-sized discography besides this single that is definitely worth investigating. If you’re a fan of the genre-bending nature of this track, I’d recommend checking out “Bluegrass in the Backwoods” and “Animate Object” from the group’s most recent album as well as “Jerusalem Ridge” off of 2017’s Maybe Believe.