NYC is full of starving artists, surely someone will want to play our wedding?
May 23, 2011 12:10 PM   Subscribe

We need to hire an affordable NYC musician to play at our wedding. Ideally it would be a banjo player but I will settle for something traditional like a violinist. We're on a shoestring budget. DJ recommendations are fine, too.

That's pretty much it. I wanted this guy, who plays at the Bedford Ave platform, but he's not getting back to my emails. Where should we start looking? I'm worried about pursuing most traditional routes because there's such a huge mark-up for anything wedding related. We don't have much money to spare, but I'm leery of just putting on an iPod and hoping the playlist suits the crowd.

I'm a big fan of indie folk music, but anyone who can learn one or two new songs and basically keep the crowd lively during cocktail hour would be most excellent.
posted by Hwaet to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sunny's Bar in Redhook has a Bluegrass pickup night that always seems to have at least a few banjo players. You could go there, and ask if any of the players are interested in a paid gig.
posted by DaveZ at 12:14 PM on May 23, 2011

I'm a big fan of the Two Man Gentleman Band.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:17 PM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Two Man Gentleman Band has been bandied (ha!) around, but they charge $3000 for 4 hours. It's a totally fair price, but out of our range.
posted by Hwaet at 12:24 PM on May 23, 2011

Where's your wedding? If the venue has a piano, I might know a guy.
posted by troywestfield at 12:26 PM on May 23, 2011

You might get an account over at Banjo Hangout and search the members directory for NYC banjo players there, or post an inquiry to one of the forums/classifieds. Morgan O'Kane's got an interesting style that doesn't fall cleanly into the two styles you're most likely to encounter, which are bluegrass/Earl Scruggs style and old-timey clawhammer/frailing. (He's doing some kind of hybrid thing with his right hand that looks like clawhammer, but with up-picking. I think it might be what they call Pete Seeger style?)

Given his overall sound, though, you may be happier with a clawhammer banjo player (browse YouTube for ample examples.)
posted by usonian at 1:05 PM on May 23, 2011

I'd recommend checking out the jam session at the Grisly Pear as well- plenty of banjo players there. Also try calling up Jalopy in Red Hook, they probably have some connections. If you get super desperate, memail me- I know banjo players in New York but would feel a bit odd just dispensing names and I may be missing people who would be more wedding oriented. Good luck! Also seconding usonian's comment about clawhammer banjo- that to me would be more appropriate for a wedding.
posted by Polyhymnia at 2:08 PM on May 23, 2011

Perhaps the band that I occasionally see playing special events at Harefield Road, The Cangelosi Cards. They have a banjo in their mix.

Although, looking for more info, it seems like they may have morphed into a band called Lichtman's Brain Cloud. Who are playing at Banjo Jim's this evening at 10, if you want to check 'em out in person -- 9th street and Avenue C.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:30 PM on May 23, 2011

My tastes are similar to yours... if you are still considering violin/fiddle, maybe check out Tom Swafford. He used to play in the 7th Ave subway station, and the music was so gorgeous I missed my train more than once just so I could stay and listen. He played a lot of folksy fiddle, classical, and original compositions.
posted by mochapickle at 2:57 PM on May 23, 2011

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