Erie native returns home with 10 String Symphony for show

Category:  The Arts
Thursday, October 11th, 2018 at 8:52 AM

On Friday, Oct. 5, Erie native Christian Sedelmyer returned home with bandmate Rachel Baiman to perform at Unitarian Universalist Church in Erie during the midst of their second album tour. The band — 10 String Symphony — consists of two five-string fiddles, one of which is alternated with a five-string banjo, and they hit Erie just shortly after winning International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) “Instrumental Record Performance of the Year” award. 

Sedelmyer has been playing violin since he was about 5 years old. He grew up playing classical violin, but his father introduced him to rock. 

“Growing up, I was playing classical music, but my dad was really into ‘60s and ‘70s folk rock. So I was playing classical, but listening to Neil Young,” he said. 

After graduating from Wake Forest University with a degree in business, Sedelmyer got a desk job in Washington, D.C. Shortly after, he’d pack up and moved to Nashville and start to focus on his music. 

Sedelmyer’s 10 String Symphony counterpart, Baiman, found herself in Nashville for similar reasons. The Chicago native has been playing the violin since she was 4 years old. While growing up, Baiman was playing classical musical, but is influenced by indie artists like Courtney Barnett. Baiman, who was raised by a social worker and an economist, found solace in music as a way to deal with world politics. After moving to Nashville to work on her music, Baiman and Sedelmyer found themselves playing together. 

The two fiddle players, who met in 2012, initially started out just jamming. However, in 2015, they released their debut album, “Weight of The World.” Their first album reached number three on the Billboard Bluegrass charts. In making their first album, they sought a way to innovate in folk music.

“On the first album, we were sort of modernizing, in our own way, old music,” said Sedelmyer.

Since the release of their debut, Baiman and Sedelmyer have both been working on separate projects. In the summer of 2014, Sedelmyer went on tour with The Jerry Douglas Band. The band recently received a 2018 Grammy nomination for best contemporary instrumental album.

Baiman found herself playing fiddle with Kacey Musgraves and releasing a solo album, titled “SHAME.” This album focuses on the tough issues and hot topics discussed in today’s political climate, with songs like the title track, “Shame,” which addresses abortion.

Their sophomore album, “Generation Frustration,” was recorded with Kris Drever in Scotland this past year and was released in July. The album is very personal for the band, and they believe that Drever is a big credit to the sound of the new album. 

“This album is very personal to us; it deals with things that we were going through and what we were seeing in the world at large,” said Sedelmyer. He continued: “[we recorded with] Kris Drever, a musician we’ve revered for a while… he’s in this band called Loud. They do a great combination of using acoustic instruments along with electronic sounds to create a really lush soundscape.”  

“Generation Frustration” introduces  Baiman on the claw-hammer banjo, which showed up sparingly on the first LP. “We decided it made sense to bring in the banjo for the band complex, and for the variety perspective,” Sedelmyer explained. 

10 String Symphony has tour dates set until November. You can stream “Generation Frustration” on Spotify and Apple Music.

Anisa Venner-Johnston can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

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