|Photo courtesy of the artist|
Paul Metzger is unlike any instrumentalist you know. For one thing, he's a self-taught banjo virtuoso -- though the instrument he plays is less of a banjo and more a crazy instrument experiment gone horribly right. In the late '70s, Metzger began performing small surgeries on his banjo, adding extra strings and performing minor transplants. Today, Metzger is on his third version of the original creation, complete with 23 strings -- and while the look of it is slightly Frankensteinish, the sound is unbelievably stunning.
Metzger's 8th solo recording and his latest album, Tombeaux, is a haunting, textural thing that steps out of space. Metzger weaves sounds together with an understated eloquence, and the three compositions on Tombeaux are as intricate and detailed as if they were being performed not by one musician but by four. But then, what would you expect from an artist who was just recently awarded the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians?
Tonight at the Turf Club's Clown Lounge, Metzger celebrates the release of Tombeaux along with free-form improvisation quartet Kvarteto Improvizi. Ahead of his gig, Gimme Noise caught up with Metzger to talk about the album, the Fellowship, and the origins of his instrument.