Altered Tunings

This instrumental acoustic duo blends the intricate lacework of fingerstyle guitar with a melodic tapestry on harmonica. Inspired by masters Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, and Don Ross, Jason Hahn employs modern methods like altered tunings, two handed tapping, and percussive fingerstyle techniques to create polyphonic layers of music. He braids them together into mesmerizing patterns that give the aural illusion they were produced by more hands than just his own two. Ansel Barnum also takes new directions on an instrument he plays with technical delicacy. A student of diatonic harmonica pioneer Howard Levy, Ansel paints lyrical phrases that sing a narrative without words. When woven into the guitar's elaborate fretwork, the instrumental duo takes on exciting acoustic adventures in their original compositions. 



Local harmonica player Ansel Barnum and guitar player Jason Hahn took their imaginative instrumental folk to the studios of Kettle Pot Tracks for an On the Hill session. The Philadelphia Folk Festival alums played five tracks ranging in style from contemplative and slow-burning (“Berkely Springs” and “I Wish I Could Sing…” ) to inspiring and eye-opening (“Surreal Moments”).
— Julie Miller, WXPN blog The Key
Although no finishers [of the contest] were designated beyond first, the act that I had first on my scorecard — harmonica-and-guitar duo Jason Hahn and Ansel Barnum of Bethlehem— would have finished second based on how we judges ranked and scored them. The duo, who also did well in last month’s Lehigh Valley Music Awards acoustic awards contest at Listen! Live Music in Zionsville, played dynamic instrumentals that – as a set should — got progressively better. The final – “I Wish I Could Sing Like Everybody Else, But Where’s the Fun in Conformity?” was a rich, textured and layered song with a nice melody.
— John Moser, senior music critic at the Morning Call
Hahn is one of those acoustic guitarists that seems to be using overdubbing when recording. Then as you listen closely, you realize that he could be doing everything with one guitar, but he must be really good to get such a full sound. Not that he is trying to impress you, which is a failing of some talented players. Hahn uses his talent to vary his sound with an arsenal of techniques.
— Jodi Duckett, Lehigh Valley Music Blog!