Margot Leverett & The Klezmer Mountain Boys release new CD “2nd Avenue Square Dance”;
CD release concert set for October 7th at DROM

Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and banjoist Tony Trischka join klezmer-bluegrass masters;

Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys: 2nd Ave Square Dance Featuring special guests Jorma Kaukonen, Hazel Dickens, Tony Trischka & others
CD release date October 14, 2008 (Traditional Crossroads 4339)

CD release concert
85 Avenue A (between 5th & 6th streets)
New York City - (212) 777-1157

Margot Leverett (clarinet) & The Klezmer Mountain Boys
Barry Mitterhoff (mandolin), Kenny Kosek (violin), Marty Confurius (bass), Joe Selly guitar with special guest Jorma Kaukonen (guitar)

In their new CD 2nd Avenue Square Dance, clarinetist Margot Leverett & The Klezmer Mountain Boys expand their repertoire beyond bluegrass and klezmer taking on rock, jazz, and American and Latin folk music. Leverett, whose work with the seminal group the Klezmatics earned her title as the founding mother of klezmer’s new wave, fronts a group whose projects have ranged from guest spots with the Philadelphia Orchestra to creating music for the Paul Taylor Dance Company work Klezmerbluegrass. The Washington Post explains the group’s unique merger of Appalachia and Eastern Europe: “The mosaic is there all at once -- the swooping, supple notes of the clarinet, the wailing violin, the loping guitar that quickens the pace, joined by the bright, lift-you-out-of-your-seat fiddling.” 2nd Ave Square Dance puts Leverett’s hard-kicking New York mix of Jewish and bluegrass traditions into a truly American melting pot of sounds.

While continuing their unique, hybrid interpretations of standards made famous by legends like bluegrass great Bill Monroe and klezmer king Dave Tarras, 2nd Avenue Square Dance features guest appearances by electric guitarist, Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna fame, legendary folk singer Hazel Dickens, banjo virtuoso Tony Trischka and a host of musical friends from around the world, including Darol Anger, David Grier, Mike Marshall, David Licht, Hankus Netsky, Carlos Oliviera, Dudley Connell, Ronnie Simpkins, and Bobby Shankin.

Jorma Kaukonen plays regularly with Klezmer Mountain mandolinist, Barry Mitterhoff in their trio Hot Tuna. Jorma was particularly intrigued by the group since he has Jewish ancestry on his mother’s side which he had, until now, gone musically unexplored. Working with Leverett, Kaukonen studied the ornamentations and melodies of Euopean and Russian klezmer traditions. He combined those with his own rock sensibilities for this recording and the resulting triple-header includes a doina (improvisation traditionally played at a Jewish wedding) renamed “Electric Kugel,” (track 3) a traditional bulgar (festive dance) called “2nd Ave. Sq. Dance,” (track 4) and “Tumbalalika,” a track showcasing Kaukonen’s acoustic guitar.

America’s banjo virtuoso, Tony Trischka has appeared with virtually every bluegrass musician of note. He is a staple of American folk radio, with a long affiliation with Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, as well as other public radio and TV programs including Mountain Stage and From Our Front Porch. His Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular featured Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck and even the multi-talented Steve Martin and garnered him three nominations at the International Bluegrass Music Awards; for Album of the Year, Recorded Event of the Year and Banjo Player of the Year. He graces Second Avenue Squaredance with stunning banjo solos including “Bill Monroe’s Stoney Lonesome” & “Tex Logan’s Come Along Jody”.

Hazel Dickens, one of America’s foremost bluegrass singers, finally came to national attention when she was featured in the documentary “Harlan County USA”. Born in 1935 in West Virginia, she is long known for her pro-union, feminist songs. One of the few women band leaders in bluegrass, she has recorded two noteworthy albums on the Folkways label. She performs the only vocal song on 2nd Avenue Square Dance, bringing her raw folk style to the religious ballad “Little Moses,” a song made famous by the Carter family in the 1920’s.


"Imagine a shotgun marriage between the music from ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ and that band from your cousin’s wedding and that will only begin to describe the Klezmer Mountain Boys." The Blueprint

"Something new and wonderful emerging from mixed traditions" Washington Post

"American Jews have been making great bluegrass music for more than 40 years, and fiddler Kenny Kosek and guitarist Barry Mitterhoff are among the genre’s leading lights." Boston Herald

"The musicians blend classic bluegrass with what could be called classic klezmer by whipsawing from one to the other in a single song….[they] even received a standing ovation in Kentucky, the mothership of bluegrass." The Forward