Tony Trischka’s Earl Jam: A Tribute to Earl Scruggs

//Tony Trischka’s Earl Jam: A Tribute to Earl Scruggs
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“Once again, Tony has set the world afire with his banjo and his storytelling skills…”— Bluegrass Today

Tony Trischka is considered the consummate banjo artist and perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world. For more than 50 years, his stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians with the many voices he has brought to the instrument. His show honors the music of Earl Scruggs, pioneer of the three-finger banjo style and one of the most important musicians in bluegrass, or, in Trischka’s opinion, in any genre.

Trischka recently came into possession of extremely rare recordings of jam sessions with Scruggs and John Hartford, and he transcribed and recorded Scruggs’s note-for-note solos from a number of these, including many songs that were never recorded. Together with his ace band — Michael Daves on vocals and guitar, fiddler Alex Hargreaves and bassist Jared Engel — Trischka will trace the story of Scruggs from his childhood to his final years. “The depth of his genius becomes ever more apparent when I transcribe his solos, which I’ve been doing my entire musical life and with renewed vigor,” says Trischka. “Discovering new twists and turns in his playing is pure joy and, in fact, the inspiration for this tribute show and album.” The show debuted at Joe’s Pub in New York City which drew lots of interest, including an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, a rarity for a banjo player these days.

“Earl is my North Star, a lifetime pathway. And I’m not alone,” says Trischka, a banjo innovator and educator who has influenced everyone from Béla Fleck to Steve Martin. “Through his music, this shy kid from Flint Hill, North Carolina went on to enrich countless thousands of lives. At the age of 13, when I first heard 16 notes of Scruggs style banjo playing, I put down my folk guitar and mercilessly pestered my parents to buy me a banjo. Once in my hands, that 5-string became my obsession and has been for 60 years.”