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JD Pinkus & Tall Tall Trees Premiere Their Clever “CAN’T C#” Single/Music Video

JD Pinkus (Butthole Surfers) and Tall Tall Trees debut their single/video, “CAN’T C#,” as their new collaborative album ‘Ponder Machine’ drops via Shimmy-Disc Records.



Mike Savino and JD Pinkus in 2023, photo by Sandlin Gaither

As a musical instrument, the banjo sometimes gets a bad rap, but as JD Pinkus and Tall Tall Trees’ collaboration on “CAN’T C#” illustrates, nothing could be farther from the truth. Today, the duo is pleased to unveil the music video for the first single to Pinkus and Tall Tall Trees’ new collaborative album Ponder Machine, which is also out today via Shimmy-Disc Records.

For any longtime fan of alt-rock, Pinkus’ name will be quite familiar to you, thanks to his role as the bassist in Butthole Surfers. Tall Tall Trees is the musical pseudonym of Mike Savino, the outstanding multi-instrumentalist and indie-folk banjoist known for his work with Kishi Bashi. There’s refreshing musical freedom on display on “CAN’T C#” and throughout the rest of the record, as Pinkus and Savino were fine to let their banjos take them wherever they led them to.

Regarding “CAN’T C#,” Pinkus had the following to say:

“A tragic ballad with a happy ending… just kiddin’… it’s three different stories with a common outcome and it’s not played in C#. Give a listen and feel free to sing along with the whales and songbirds.”

Ponder Machine was more than just a collaboration between Pinkus and Savino. Acclaimed producer Kramer, who is also the founder of Shimmy-Disc Records, was the original catalyst for this project, relocating himself last summer to Asheville, North Carolina, to record an off-kilter collaborative record that would be defined by the use of the banjo. Pinkus actually replaced Kramer as the bassist in Butthole Surfers, so they already had a well-defined previous relationship.


Shortly after Kramer arrived to begin writing and recording, the context and scope of the project were already starting to become well-defined. The final product, that is Ponder Machine, is certain to cause listeners to reconsider the way they think about the banjo. The record shows that there really are a million possibilities when it comes to this unsung instrument. This is unlike anything you’ll listen to this year, or probably this decade, and Pinkus, Savino, and Kramer hope that the experience is as unique and pleasing for you as it was for them.

Ponder Machine Track Listing:

1. Sourdough Rag
2. Building Fires
3. High on the Mountain
4. Mad County
5. Afterlifer
6. Can’t C#
7. E.Y.’s Demise
8. Ponder Machine
9. Zeno Raises The Dead
10. Fungal Mountain Breakdown
11. Building More Fires *Cassette B-Side / Digital Exclusive*
12. E.Y.’s Continuous Demise *Cassette B-Side / Digital Exclusive*
13. Zeno Rises Again *Cassette B-Side / Digital Exclusive*

JD Pinkus and Tall Tall Trees ‘Ponder Machine’ album artwork

JD Pinkus and Tall Tall Trees ‘Ponder Machine’ album artwork