Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Exclusive: The new Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn EP will feature “The Final Countdown” and more

If you’ve been paying attention to this year’s A.V. Undercover series, then you almost certainly saw “The Final Countdown,” a dual-banjo version of Europe’s classic power ballad covered by Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Even though Fleck had never heard the song before, they did a remarkable job translating it to their chosen instruments. “‘The Final Countdown’ was a song that I had somehow missed,” Fleck told us. “I guess I was pretty busy in the ’80s! But it was brand new to me, and it seemed rather unlikely that anyone would get excited about us covering it. But Abby believed it would be a great thing for us to do, and as usual, she was right.”

“‘The Final Countdown’ is one of the most powerful earworms in the history of the universe,” Washburn told us. “Béla and I would find ourselves humming it before bed and when we woke up. And just when one finally wiped it from their mind, the other would hum it again! And then when you see Europe’s collective hair consciousness, the magnificence of the melody is only increased.”

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And now the song will anchor an EP called Banjo Banjo, which also features a song sung in Mandarin, a composition by another Béla—Bartok—and more. The title track is an ode to Fleck and Washburn’s 2-year-old son, whom they’ve given the impossibly cute name Juno. Below you’ll find an exclusive look at the video for “Shotgun Blues,” and if that doesn’t satisfy your banjo craving, head right back to watch “The Final Countdown” again. The EP will be available digitally on August 21, and on vinyl in October. Below the “Shotgun Blues” video, some tour dates. Enjoy.

Aug 8 – Alta, WY Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival
Aug 9 – Denver, CO Botanic Gardens
Sept 9 – Milwaukee, WI The Pabst Theater
Sept 10 – Madison, WI Union Theater
Oct 6 – Goshen, IN Goshen College
Oct 8 – Bethlehem, PA Artsquest Center at Steelstacks
Oct 9 – Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse
Oct 10 – New London, CT Connecticut College
Oct 11 – York, PA Strand-Capitol PAC
Oct 22 – University Park, PA Penn State University
Oct 23 – Carmel, IN Palladium at the Center for Performing Arts
Oct 24 – S. Joseph, MN College of St. Benedict
Oct 25 – Skokie, IL North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
Nov 3 – Vienna, Austria Porgy & Bess
Nov 4 – Sofia, Bulgaria Music Club
Nov 5 – Bucharest, Romania Sala Radio
Nov 7 – Prague, Czech Republic Palace Akropolis
Nov 8 – Budapest, Hungary Palace of the Arts
Nov 10 – Milan, Italy Blue Note
Nov 11 – Barcelona, Spain Jazz Festival
Nov 13 – Leeds, ENG Yorkshire Howard Assembly Room
Nov 14 London, ENG EFG London Jazz Festival
Nov 15 – Bristol, ENG St. Georges
Nov 16 – Gateshead, ENG Sage
Nov 18 – Dublin, Ireland Vicar Street

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