Basic Folk 146 – Brad Kolodner

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Once Baltimore claw-hammer banjoist, radio host and community organizer Brad Kolodner got a banjo in his hands, it was game over. Brad has previously played the cello in the school orchestra and had held a strong interest in sports, but his true passion for old time was realized at Meadowlark Music camp in Maine. He signed up for the banjo for beginners class after his father (the renowned fiddle and hammer dulcimer player Ken Kolodner) brought him along to the camp under the condition that he was to play some kind of music that week. While Brad had grown up around traditional music through his father’s performances with his band Helicon, recordings and music lessons at the house, he wasn’t drawn to that particular style of music. Once he started on the banjo, however, he began going down YouTube rabbit holes, going out to jams and soaking in as much as he could. Brad went to school in Ithaca, NY, where he started hosting a folk radio show that further deepened his love of old time. Once he returned home to Baltimore, he became invested in community organizing with weekly jams and music festivals.

Brad’s released albums with his band Charm City Junction, as Ken & Brad Kolodner and recently, he’s put out his debut solo record, Chimney Swifts. The album focuses on what he calls “private music.” This is what musicians play when they first pick up their instruments, it’s familiar and evokes time and place. In our conversation, he goes into detail about what that means and how the pandemic has impacted his practice of “private music.” He also talks about his most recent project The Birds’ Flight with Pete Sutherland and Timothy Cummings. Pete and Tim were working on Scottish songs and then decided to bring Brad in since he has an affinity towards genre-mixing and is a kick-ass banjo player. As a DJ, you can hear Brad on Folk Alley, Radio Bristol for the Old Time Jam and on Bluegrass Country Radio, you can find him playing at the Baltimore Old Time Jam, Baltimore Square Dance, Baltimore Old-Time Music Festival. Aaand you can find him online teaching banjo and making everyone feel comfortable at the slow jam.

Brad’s solo album

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