Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton + Meredith Axelrod
It’s a wonder, and a shame, that Meredith Axelrod and Blind Boy Paxton haven’t made a record together yet. The young multi-instrumentalists — both still in their 20s — have each earned a reputation for breathing new life into early 20th century American music. Ragtime, jazz, jug band, blues, country, show tunes — anything old-timey, these two have it under their belts.
Jerron Paxton grew up in L.A.’s storied Watts neighbourhood, in the midst of a big extended family of transplanted Southerners. From birth he was surrounded by music of all kinds and, by age 14, he’d picked up a banjo and latched on to the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Fifteen years on, he’s mastered multiple instruments — guitar, banjo, piano and violin among them — and amassed a repertoire thousands of songs deep.
Meredith Axelrod hails from Chicago but wandered out to San Francisco to be near her sisters. One sister’s husband is a collector of 78s, and that collection is responsible for Axelrod’s obsession with what she calls “vintage Americana.” She sings in a style that’s built to be heard without amplification in a crowded room, and plays guitar, cello and ukulele.
When these two sing and play together, their styles blend with the ease and assurance of old masters talking a common language. And if they do record together, the only way they can properly release it will be on 78s.