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MP3 Jeff Troxel - Dancing in the Flame

A blend of alternative folk, rock and bluegrass from a master songwriter and championship guitarist. The lyrics will draw you in and transport you to far-away places. The music will make sure you travel in first class.

12 MP3 Songs in this album (48:56) !
Related styles: FOLK: Progressive Folk, ROCK: Americana

People who are interested in Jackson Browne Natalie Merchant Tony Rice should consider this download.

It’s hard for Jeff Troxel to remember a time when there wasn’t a guitar within reach for him to play. He learned to play chords and sing folk songs at his mother’s knee and by the time he was sixteen he was playing in the bars and dance halls of his native Wyoming. That was the beginning of a long musical journey that has taken him from Boston to Los Angeles, and points between and beyond.

Since those early days of bar gigs and college classes Troxel has developed into a prominent guitarist, composer and songwriter, performing and touring with some of the world’s finest musicians. The list includes Ronnie Bedford, Warren Chiasson, Sonny Wilkenson, Bobby Shew, Frank Mantooth, Jack Reilly, James Naughton, Chris Merz, Mike Dowling, Pete Huttlinger and Bruce Escovitz. Jeff has performed internationally and is in demand as a performer, clinician and teacher.

Troxel’s original songs have won awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association and the John Lennon Song Contest, and in 2001 he was awarded a Performing Arts Fellowship in Jazz Composition from the Wyoming Arts Council. In 2003 Troxel won the celebrated title of National Flatpicking Champion at the Walnut Valley Festival after winning state championships in both Wyoming and Utah.

In 2003 Troxel stepped into the solo spotlight with the release of his critically acclaimed CD November Sidewalk. Eight of the ten songs on the recording are original compositions and this recording was his debut to the world not only as a flatpicking champion, but as a gifted singer/songwriter.

Following on the success of that recording, Troxel has released his latest offering; Dancing in the Flame. Like November Sidewalk, this recording features mostly original songs along with a couple of traditional tunes and covers. Troxel refers to Dancing in the Flame as “the next step in my journey as a songwriter.” He explains, “I have to live with my songs for a long time to know if they’re any good, and even then I’m not always sure. But when they start to feel like they have a life of their own – like they’re not really mine anymore, then I know it’s time to record them. It’s a long and painful process, but in the end it’s worth it. In many ways, songwriting and composition have become a higher calling for me than playing the guitar.”

Dancing in the Flame is also a reunion of two old friends from college days in Boston; both national champion guitarists. Jeff’s good friend from Berklee College of Music is renowned fingerstyle wizard Pete Huttlinger. After classes at Berklee the two would head down to the Harvard subway stop where they’d play for hours, usually coming home with their guitar cases full of money. Troxel says, “One time I had so much change in my case that the handle broke off when I picked it up. For the rest of the year I had to walk to class carrying it under my arm.”

Dancing in the Flame features Huttlinger playing banjo, mandolin and guitar on five of the tracks. “This is the first time Pete and I have played together since Boston and the reunion felt way overdue,” says Troxel.

It was during his time at Berklee that Troxel first became interested in flatpicking. A roommate had some music by David Grisman featuring Tony Rice on guitar. “I was immediately drawn to the sound of that music because it was a wonderful blend of string band music and the sophisticated phrasing and harmony of the jazz I was studying.” Troxel was surprised to find upon further research that Tony Rice had strong roots in Bluegrass music. He learned from his friend Phil Round (who would later go on to form the band Loose Ties) that Russ Barenberg was living in Boston. Soon Troxel was taking a train to Barenberg''s house once a week for flatpicking lessons.

Troxel graduated summa cum laude from Berklee in 1984 and spent the next year traveling with the country-rock band West. About the time he was ready to take a break from living on the road he was offered a teaching position at Northwest College in Powell Wyoming as a sabbatical replacement. When the stint was up he was asked to stay on and continue teaching. After a year at Northwest, Troxel began to feel that teaching was taking too much energy away from playing so he left Wyoming and moved to Los Angeles.

Troxel spent the next year and a half playing gigs and studying with jazz guitar guru Joe Diorio. He explains, “It was during this time that I finally started to feel like I could play jazz. When I was at Berklee jazz was still new to me and I was taking in a lot of information all at once. By the time I got to L.A. I had spent a couple of years listening, playing and learning the repertoire. Studying with Joe really helped open my ears and mind to new possibilities in harmony and improvisation. He helped me to grow up, musically speaking.”

When Troxel was once again ready to take a break from life in L.A. he returned to Wyoming and resumed teaching at Northwest College. At the same time Ronnie Bedford, a prominent jazz drummer from New York, joined the faculty. He and Jeff began a musical relationship that has lasted more than twenty years. It was through Ronnie that Jeff met and performed with some of the top jazz musicians in the world.

In 1991 Troxel moved back to Los Angeles after being offered a teaching assistantship at the University of Southern California. For the next two years he worked on a master’s degree in Jazz Guitar Performance, studying with his old teacher Joe Diorio, as well as Larry Koonse and William Kanengizer. He also studied jazz composition with Vince Mendoza and Shelly Berg. Jeff was the guitarist and composer for Berg’s renowned ensemble ELF. Two years after graduating he would come back and record his first CD as a composer and band leader with ELF entitled Rising from the Plains. Troxel graduated with honors from USC and was inducted into the national music honor society Pi Kappa Lambda.

After graduating from USC Troxel again returned to Wyoming where he has spent the past fifteen years building his reputation as a guitarist, songwriter, composer and teacher. He maintains a busy performance schedule both as a jazz guitarist and an acoustic guitarist playing his own music. In addition to performing, Troxel is on the faculty at Central Wyoming College in Riverton Wyoming and Rocky Mountain College in Billings Montana. He also writes columns for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, and Mel Bay’s online magazine Guitar Sessions. He has written several books for guitar, the most recent titled Flatpicking up the Neck for Mel Bay Publications.

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