My Heart Is Fixed
Behind the trademark guitar picking style of Cort Armstrong, dubbed "chicken pickin'" by fans and musical compatriots, is a story of a musical journey toward the roots of traditional American music. This path has led in a great circle, from a childhood of learning revivalist folk and children's music and thumb-style guitar from his mother, to embodying the harmony between the diverse musical styles that intersected in the southern Appalachian Mountains, including country blues, mountain fiddle music and bluegrass. At the heart of this music we call "Americana", or American roots music, there is the interaction of the musician and the listener. This is what folk music is all about, and the experience of it takes the listener down a road to much deeper understanding and appreciation of themselves and our culture. A Cort Armstrong performance doesn't just offer up this experience to the listener... it takes them by the hand and tugs! Where Country and Blues collide, there you will find Cort Armstrong, chicken pickin' and grinnin'. At a very early age, Cort was exposed to the revivalist folk music of his mother, and although he developed a natural ability to play thumb-style guitar from watching his mother teach so often, he ultimately rejected this music and the guitar, and opted to listen to loud blues-inspired rock and roll music. In adolescence, rebellion gave way to musical snobbery, and an interest in the singing of the folk rock hippies of the west coast and New York City. Interest in developing thumb-style guitar chops continued through college, where Armstrong focused on solo guitar pieces and country blues. An evolving love for bluegrass music, with it's country harmony singing, and social musical atmosphere swept Cort away after moving up to Seattle in 1992, and this led to an obsession for mountain fiddle music as well, with it's modal harmonies and crooked rhythms. A connection was made between the crooked modal old-time fiddle music and the loose country blues sound, and this realization changed Cort's life, and so his deep spiritual voice would make it's way to the surface for the first time. The connections between the different roots of traditional American music seemed to be strongest in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and so after recording his first CD with his new band Blue Rooster, Cort packed up an old school bus and set out on a pilgrimage to the heart of his interest in music... Asheville, NC. Between 1999 and 2002, Cort and his band Blue Rooster would record two more CDs, and travel throughout the southeast playing clubs and festivals. Between developing myriads of performance relationships, attending countless formal and informal jams, Cort squeezed all he could out of his experience in the Appalachian Mountains, and ultimately brought his understanding of this rich and diverse musical culture back to the west coast. After a few year stint of playing in a Seattle-based "dance" version of Blue Rooster, called Jangle Bones, Cort has settled with his wife on the Olympic Peninsula, in the far northwest corner of Washington State. Now writing songs both in the blues and country styles, Cort is bringing his "chicken pickin'" and deep repertoire of American roots music, as well as his penetratingly emotional voice, to audiences all along the west coast. When he was a child, Cort Armstrong sang and played many of the old folk songs. Now, those old folk songs seem to play him, and the listener will know there is something special going on. Now that his long musical journey has come full-circle, Cort would like to take everyone who will come along on this path, and experience the harmony of our diverse American musical culture. Let us get together, right down here...