Next Small Thing
ThisBigStringBand's 'first and last' album 'The Next Small Thing. . .'is a collection of old-time fiddle tunes arranged and produced by three energetic players. Fiddler David Algeo Smith was the 2004 Nevada State Adult Fiddle Champion and a fifth place finisher at both the National Old-Time Fiddlers'Contest in Weiser, ID (2004) and the Appalachian String Band Festival, Clifftop, WV (2002). Formerly the 'token Westerner' in Northern Thailand's 'country and eastern' group Banjoman Band & Friends and one time violinist in the EuroAmerican street band sensation The Rhythm Pygmies, David now teaches Suzuki violin and fiddle at the Oshkosh (WI) Suzuki Music Program and at the Aurora (IL) Suzuki Violins program, the latter of which was founded by his father Stan Smith and is currently co-directed by his sister Sarah Smith. Jim Marks is the 6-string and tenor guitar player in the group. He was a founding member of the Michigan acid country outfit Les Tabourets Laches (the Loose Stools) and in the 90s he spent time in the Austin,TX bands Busted Still and The Stonecutters. An itinerant laborer, he is currently to be found somewhere in north Florida. Steve Noel rounds out the trio with his clawhammer banjo. Formerly of the eight-piece Celtic band The Dogs of Bryan, he's also been a featured performer on various street corners and seedy bars. 'The Next Small Thing. . .'is Steve's major debut as a recording artist. His solo project 'Out on a Limb' is taking shape between caring for three young boys and a loving wife and managing his career as a Chicago public school librarian/computer geek. TBSB is the culmination of two years of jamming and rehearsal in a small, dimly lit apartment in Hyde Park on Chicago's South Side. Steve and Jim each met David during the course of the latter's busking at local art fairs and on the 'El' rapid transit lines, and from July 2002 until March 2004 the trio cultivated and refined their sound with a large and varied repertoire. Ultimately their work on the classic American fiddle tune led in April-May 2004 to the inside of legendary blues label Delmark's house studio, Riverside Studios, and the steady hand and ear of recording engineer Steve Wagner. 'The Next Small Thing. . .' is the result of their collaboration together. Packaged with original artwork and graphic design by artist K.Kim and released to very limited distribution in July 2004, ThisBigStringBand's 'The Next Small Thing. . .' is the first CD release on the group's own homegrown label, This Small Record Label, which is dedicated to documenting and recording independent acoustic folk music in the U.S. and around the world. Although TBSB was always considered to be a 'one-off,' a band destined to break up with the introduction of it's album to the old-time music scene, it has been known to make very rare live appearances in places and at venues as varied as St Augustine, FL's Taberna del Gallo; Oshkosh, WI's New Moon Cafe; Warrenville, IL's Fermilab Barn Dance; and Champaign, IL's Verde Gallery. ThisBigStringBand also has developed something of a cult following on the World Wide Web, making it a unique musical animal for the 21st Century: a traditional acoustic formation--yet which is a de facto 'virtual band,' with only it's website serving as it's exclusive 'face' to the world. ThisBigStringBand has been more or less 'temporarily disbanded' since 2004, but the group's members nevertheless are engaged permanently in intense negotiations with their wives and girlfriends to work out the logistics of a Midwest tour in 2009-10. Also looming on the horizon: a busking trip to Switzerland and Germany; a long-awaited and much-anticipated concert tour of the former Soviet Union's Gulag Archipelago (made infamous by Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn); and a pseudo-documentary film capturing David's meandering musings along the IL-WI state line as he searches in vain for the 'Sundays in Racine' old-time music jam sessions in the dead of mid-winter.