Picture this: A bevy of banjo-playing beauties in tasteful yet tantalizing pin-up poses.
The Banjo Babes 2014 Calendar and Album will feature 12 months of stunning, string-strumming women from across the world, plus a compilation CD showcasing their songs.
“For us, it’s really about how we can work together as emerging artists to get our music out there,” said San Luis Obispo banjo player Erin Inglish, who’s overseeing the Banjo Babes project. “It’s not shameless objectification of banjos. It’s just plain fun.”
Inglish said she and her fellow banjo players were inspired by a similar calendar featuring photos of accordion-wielding women. Renée de la Prade’s Accordion Babes Album and Pin-up Calendar has been delighting music lovers since 2009.
“I thought that’d be fun to do in the banjo community,” said Inglish, whose father, Café Musique accordion player Duane Inglish, gets an Accordion Babes calendar and CD each year.
Pictured in the inaugural Banjo Babes calendar are two Central Coast residents – Inglish and San Luis Obispo musician Hayley Thomas, who sings and plays banjo in Tarweed Two & the Two Time Boys – as well as professional female banjo players from across California and the United States. There’s even a musician from Tashkent, Uzbekistan – Janna Kim.
“We’re all emerging artists or independent artists. We don’t have signed contracts with labels,” Inglish explained, noting that female banjo players are an underrepresented group in the music industry.
“There are a lot of ladies that play the banjo, and they’re pretty damn good at it,” she said. “That’s the main message we’re trying to get out there.”
In keeping with that professional image, Inglish stressed that the pin-up-style photos are strictly PG.
San Luis Obispo photographer Brittany App snapped a shot of Inglish – Miss January -- with her banjo and her bicycle, which both accompanied her on her Earth*Bike*Banjo statewide tour in April.
Thomas’s playful photo, which finds her fishing with her banjo, was taken by her fiancé and bandmate Reid Cain, owner of Dr. Cain’s Comics and Games in San Luis Obispo.
Each copy of the calendar comes with a CD featuring songs by the pictured artists.
According to Inglish, the album offers an eclectic blend of traditional bluegrass and other old-timey tunes and more modern, innovative music. “Folks are going to get a great mix of sounds,” she said.
Inglish and her fellow artists are offering Banjo Babes albums and calendars via a crowdfunding website, Indiegogo.com, now through Sept. 8.
For $25, music lovers can pre-order an album and calendar; downloading just the album costs $10. Both will be shipped out in November at the latest.
The musicians hope to raise at least $12,000, Inglish said, partially to cover the costs of production.
In addition, they’re planning a series of Banjo Babes showcase concerts to promote the project.
“We really want people to laugh with us and enjoy it and not take the calendar part of it too seriously,” Inglish said, describing Banjo Babes as “a celebration of women and everything women have to offer.” “At the end of the day, it’s about the music.”
Check all the musicians out:
Erin Inglish: http://erininglish.com/
Hayley Thomas: http://www.hayleythomas.com/
Banjo Babes: http://banjobabescalendar.com/
Banjo Babes Indiegogo campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/banjo-babes-2014-calendar-album
Accordion Babes: http://www.accordionpinupcalendar.com/