banjo

Béla Fleck Unveils Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra with Nashville Symphony

Béla Fleck will present the world premiere of his Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra — one of the first ever written for the instrument — with the Nashville Symphony on September 22-24 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. To be performed by Fleck on his vintage 1937 mahogany Gibson Mastertone banjo, the Concerto marks a significant new departure for Fleck, who calls the piece "a liberating experience for my efforts as a composer and hopefully for the banjo as well." Commissioned by the Nashville Symphony, Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra will be the centerpiece of the orchestra’s opening concerts in the 2011/12 SunTrust Classical Series.

Given the names Béla (for Bartók), Anton (for Webern) and Leoš (for Janáčék), Fleck seems to have been destined to play classical music. Having launched a prolific and wildly successful career as a genre-melding instrumentalist, first with the New Grass Revival and later with the Flecktones, he made the classical connection with his 2001 solo album Perpetual Motion. Released on Sony Classical, the recording went on to win a pair of GRAMMYs®, including Best Classical Crossover Album. Fleck has won a total of 14 GRAMMYs®, and, with 30 nominations, he has been nominated in more different categories than anyone in GRAMMY® history.

Fleck dedicates his new Concerto to pioneering banjoist Earl Scruggs, who first inspired him to take up the instrument. The composer says that the piece reflects the dual influences of classical music and bluegrass. “You can hear an evolution in my own writing of the piece as it goes on,” he observes, noting that he wanted to “explore the new possibilities of the banjo as a member or the orchestra, while respecting its roots in bluegrass and jazz.”

Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra is perfectly matched at the Nashville Symphony concerts with Aaron Copland’s famous Appalachian Spring, which celebrates the American spirit with music of breathtaking beauty and directness. Concluding the performance is Tchaikovsky’s larger-than-life Fourth Symphony, the Russian composer’s favorite piece, which sweeps the audience with an emotional palette that ranges from melancholy to exuberance. The Thursday, September 22, performance will be webcast live via the Nashville Symphony’s website.

For more information about the concert or to purchase tickets, please call 615.687.6400 or visit NashvilleSymphony.org.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its recordings and innovative programming. With 140 performances annually, the 84-member orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, children’s concerts and community engagement programs. As a national and international ambassador for Tennessee, the Nashville Symphony has received far-reaching acclaim for its 19 recordings on Naxos, making the ensemble one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. These recordings have received a total of 13 GRAMMY® nominations and six GRAMMY® Awards. On May 12, 2012, the Nashville Symphony will perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the Spring for Music festival, which recognizes orchestras for adventuresome, original programming.

Paper Bird w/ Dovekins at the Boulder Theater

97.3 KBCO & Westword are proud to present Paper Bird with Dovekins at the Boulder Theater on Thursday, September 8th, 2011.  Tickets go on sale Friday, June 24th for $14 General Admission tickets.

Paper Bird’s backbone is their songwriting, musicianship and a general allergy to all limitations and trends. With seven members and no leader, this band is pulled in every direction imaginable, but thanks to their unique instrumentation they are able to merge their spontaneous creativity into one, solid sound.

The members of the band- Sarah Anderson, vocals and trumpet; sisters Esmé and Genny Patterson, vocals; Tyler Archuletta, trombone; Paul DeHaven, guitar; Caleb Summeril, banjo; Macon Terry, upright bass – bring a Folk, Americana sound that pays homage to the American Bandstand of the 1950’s, with a hint of Roaring 20’s flare. But don’t be thrown off by their old-timey sound, Paper Bird maintains the Indie rock image and resonance of the current age with a progressive and complex style that keeps them on the forefront of the music scene. The band’s inception came a few years ago in Breckenridge, Colorado where they met for the first time. The members were busking in the streets where they earned a couple hundred dollars, bought some beers and dinner and decided to form a band. Shortly after they went into the studio and recorded their first self-released album Anything Nameless and Joymaking (2007), which has been a top selling record in local retail stores since its release.

The seven-piece Americana Folk band is boasted by three female lead singers and backed by outstandingly talented musicians, continually capture the hearts of new and old listeners. They were recently featured on NPR’s All Things Considered due their rare and beautiful approach to music. They were voted in the Top 10 Best Underground Bands by Denver Post two years in a row. In the last year they have played Red Rocks Amphitheater to over 8000 people and have shared the stage with Devotchka, These United States, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Brett Dennen, and Big Head Todd & the Monsters. Their haunting and authentic sound is a refreshing and breath taking experience.

The female vocals create a soulful, dynamic harmony that accentuates each singer, while giving the illusion of a single voice. The trombone, banjo, and guitar elevate the music to a higher level while the skilled notes of the bass reflect the harmonies. Each style bounces off the other, while each note appreciates the other. They make audiences feel love, excitement, and passion. A show not to be missed, a band that must be heard: Paper Bird is one of a kind.

Also, appearing is Dovekins who is made up of six goonish characters that are fun-loving and appreciate a good time.  Their shows have a range of instruments including stand-up bass, accordion, clarinet, piano, mandolin, trombone, banjo, tuba, spoons and washboard.  A psychedelic hoe-down may ensue.

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Paper Bird w/ Dovekins

& Spirits Of The Red City and The Claptet

Boulder Theater

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Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Doors:  7:00 pm

Show Time:  7:30 pm

Bootsy Collins at the Boulder Theater | 06.06.11

Westword & Z2 Entertainment is proud to present Bootsy Collins at the Boulder Theater on Monday, June 6th, 2011.

While supplies last, CDs of Bootsy Collins' new album 'Tha Funk Capital of the World' (out 4/26) will be available with eye-popping holographic 3D album art designed by Roy Koch, Mascot Records' in-house artist. Bootsy says, "The album cover art work breathes like it is a living being/city... it's alive." For a preview of the physical packaging, check out an animated .GIF image here.

'Tha Funk Capital of the World' will also be available in a 2-LP transparent blue vinyl and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

"Don't Take My Funk," featuring Catfish Collins and Bobby Womack, is now available on all digital retailers (links below). Rolling Stone called it "effortlessly groovy," listen here.

Catch Bootsy Collins live at the Boulder Theater performing from his latest album, 'Tha Funk Capital of the World' featuring fellow P-Funkers George Clinton and Bernie Worrell, along with an all-star lineup of musicians and cultural luminaries including rappers Snoop Dogg, Chuck D, and Ice Cube; actor Samuel L. Jackson; banjo phenom Bela Fleck; the Rev. Al Sharpton; scholar Dr. Cornel West; guitarist Buckethead, and more.

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Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Friday April 15th!

$33.50 GA

Steep Canyon Rangers Join Steve Martin on New Album

The Steep Canyon Rangers (SCR), have joined iconic comedian, Steve Martin on his sophomore album entitled Rare Bird Alert to be released TODAY, March 15, 2011. Bringing bluegrass music to new audiences, SCR continue their meteoric rise as passionate ambassadors for the bluegrass music they love. With Martin, SCR played for more people than any other bluegrass band in 2010.  This year will be even bigger, as the group prepares a nationwide tour with Martin to support their collaborative project.  The Rare Bird Tour will kick off in New York City with three sold-out performances at the famed Joe’s Pub March 15-17 as well as a return appearances to the Late Show with David Letterman on March 16 and The View on March 17.

When Martin, an accomplished banjo player and songwriter, handpicked SCR to tour and record with him last year, they jumped at the chance.  “Serendipity has made a better match than any bluegrass computer dating service,” jokes Martin. With Rare Bird Alert, Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers have created an album filled with the traditional bluegrass sound, bursting at the seams with banjo, fiddle and lyrics that are both fun and reflective.

The title track “Rare Bird Alert” perfectly scores the lonely ache and melancholy of bird watching. Paul McCartney guests on “Best Love” a foot-stomper about love and the little things.  On “Go Away, Stop, Turn Around, Come Back” SCR’s lead singer, Woody Platt, tells the story of love, breakup and reunion while “Jubilation Day” bounces with the delight and renewed vigor that can come from a breakup. The Dixie Chicks lend their considerable talent to “You” the saddest un-sad song about a past love with no regret. The closing tracks on the record showcase Martin’s comedy roots.  On “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs” Martin and SCR create a gospel song for those without one while “King Tut” allows Steep Canyon Rangers to put their bluegrass-spin on an old Martin favorite.

After a year jam-packed with tour dates, including Carnegie Hall, and headlining festivals such as Bonnaroo, Merlefest, New Orleans Jazzfest, Newport Folk Festival, Martin helped SCR introduce bluegrass to millions of who may have been hearing it for the first time and SCR show no sign of stopping. For more information, please visit www.steepcanyon.com.

John Hartford Stringband Nominated for Grammy Best Traditional Folk Album

GRAMMY voting is wrapping up for the dozens of nominees in scores of categories, including for John Hartford Stringband’s tribute album to the late, great singer-songwriter, MEMORIES OF JOHN (Red Clay/Compass Records), in Category 68: Best Traditional Folk Album, as February 13 approaches and the 53rd annual GRAMMY Awards presentation in Los Angeles.

In what would be 10 years after his passing in 2001, the same group of musicians who appeared on John Hartford’s last five Rounder Records projects and were his final touring band — Chris Sharp on guitar, Bob Carlin on banjo, Matt Combs on fiddle, Mike Compton on mandolin and Mark Schatz on bass — are eager to win the GRAMMY as further tribute to the banjo wizard, guitar picker, vocalist, musical innovator and multiple GRAMMY Award-winning recording artist who penned the megahit “Gentle on My Mind.” Stringband members were joined on MEMORIES OF JOHN by special guests Tim O’Brien, Bela Fleck, Alison Brown, Alan O’Bryant, George Buckner and Eileen Carson Schatz. The album also features Hartford himself on several previously unreleased tracks as well as voiced instructions to the band from previous rehearsal tapes.

Greensky Bluegrass CD Release

The music that Greensky Bluegrass performs can best be described as a breath of fresh air, relaxing, invigorating and a welcomed change from the current climate.  The Kalamazoo, MI based quintet uses traditional bluegrass instruments – dobro, banjo, guitar, upright bass and mandolin – to create original songs that are unique, yet familiar and cover songs unconventional to their roots (The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan).

The Midwestern boys had an incredible 2010, touring nationally, performing alongside Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead and featured at the Rockygrass Festival in Lyons, CO, on the main stage at the Grey Fox Festival in upstate New York and in front of an audience of thousands at the All Good Festival in West Virginia. Additionally, the quintet delighted campers at the All Good Festival by performing a surprise midnight to sunrise ‘Guerilla Grass’ jam session that was captured by CNN and featured here.

Greensky Bluegrass has quickly become one of the most exciting touring acts on the road today, performing their trademark sound nationwide at over 160 spirited shows a year. This energy is captured perfectly on their live double-CD releases, All Access: Volume One and Volume Two. All Access is a series of recordings of select shows from the road, Volume One was released and subsequently sold-out in 2010 and Volume Two was released later in that same year.  Each installment offers nearly 30 songs, originals and covers.

Since winning the 2006 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest, Greensky has been touring constantly and all the hard work is certainly paying off. Recent highlights are too many to list, but include selling out venues in many parts of the country, sharing the stage with musical heroes, getting asked to play shows with the likes of Tony Rice and Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth. Greensky Bluegrass is Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin).

Check out Greensky Bluegrass at Sullivan Hall in NYC on February 10th.

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Union Street Preservation Society:

USPS is a collective that is a link in the lineage of folk and blues musicians such as Robert Johnson, Duane Allman, Steve Earl, Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt. Our goal is to educate people through music and by talking about the history of the music. This generation is spiritual bankrupt (and increasingly financially so) and in need of something authentic. We seek to provide that communal experience. Join in on the project, sing along, learn some history and contribute any way you can. The society is always accepting new, honorary members who are willing to delve deeper into the music, both intellectually and spiritually and physically.

The Builders and the Butchers: Dead Reckoning

Portland, OR's The Builders and the Butchers have signed with Badman Recording Co. and will release their third album, Dead Reckoning, on February 22nd, 2011.

Dead Reckoning is a bold, kinetic collection of songs that mine from folk, back porch bluegrass, and raucous unplugged blues, lead by Ryan Sollee's fervent vocals and the big drum sound of the deconstructed kit split between Brandon Hafer and Ray Rude. Dynamic epic opener "I Broke The Vein" sets the album's tone, in many ways encompassing all elements of The Builders' sound: tempos both delicate and charging, an abundance of wisely parsed instrumentation, and heavy percussion, all cut with an ominous undercurrent and grounded in Sollee's stellar storytelling. Songs like the pounding anti-anthem "Rotten To The Core" and the urgent, ominous "Lullaby" sit seamlessly alongside the swaying gentle stomp of "Moon On The March" and the beautifully subdued haunt of "All Away." Traces of traditional gospel music emerge throughout; strikingly so on the stark and stirring "Blood For You" and the call-and-response lament "Family Tree." Writing against the backdrop of the recent downturn, Sollee found himself relating to and drawing inspiration from American music of the 1930s. The timeless songs on Dead Reckoning follow suit, weaving gothic stories with common threads like absolute good and evil, addiction, religion, and the father and the son.


The Builders recorded Dead Reckoning predominantly live in effort to finally capture the unbridled energy of their renowned live show, one that often breaks down the wall between band and audience, and turns performances into animated, cathartic sing-alongs. Over eight days, the band tracked and mixed the entire album with the help of Adam Selzer (The Decemberists, M. Ward, She & Him), who worked on their sophomore album Salvation is a Deep Dark Well (GTC, 2009), and engineer Dylan Magierek (Mark Kozelek, Starfucker, Thao Nguyen). Minimal overdubs were added and The Builders played every instrument on Dead Reckoning - which includes banjo, mandolin, organ, piano, melodica, and acoustic bass and guitar - save for two guest violin parts laid down by friends Amanda Lawrence and Zy Orange Lynn.

Dead Reckoning track listing:

  1. I Broke The Vein
  2. Rotten To The Core
  3. It Came From The Sea
  4. Lullaby
  5. Moon On The March
  6. All Away
  7. Cradle On Fire
  8. We All Know The Way
  9. Out Of The Mountain
  10. Blood For You
  11. Black Elevator
  12. Family Tree



The Builders formed in Portland in 2005, the five original members all hailing from Alaska. Getting their start playing street corners and eventually local venues, the band released their debut album self-titled album in 2007 on Bladen County Records. The album earned accolades including Willamette Week's 'Best New Band of 2008' and Seattle Sound's 'Best Live Performers 2008,' and was soon followed by 2009's Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well. Recorded by The Decemberists' Chris Funk, this sophomore album lead to even more press, including NPR, Filter, PasteMagazine.com, KEXP, Consequence of Sound, and HearYa, among others. The Builders have toured near-constantly in support of their albums over the past two years, with artists like Heartless Bastards, Portugal. The Man, Amanda Palmer, Brand New, and Murder By Death. The band's 2011 touring plans will be announced soon.

The Builders and the Butchers are: Ryan Sollee (vocals, guitar), Brandon Hafer (drums, vocals, melodica), Willy Kunkle (bass, vocals), Ray Rude (organ, drums, vocals), and Harvey Tumbleson (banjo, mandolin, vocals). Former bassist Alex Ellis performed on the record as well.

String Cheese Incident Launches Archival Series

Today, The String Cheese Incident releases the first installment of their brand new live archival series, Rhythm of the Road, which will highlight the band’s most celebrated concerts with re-mastered limited edition releases. Titled Rhythm of the Road: Volume 1, Incident in Atlanta – 11.17.00, this first offering on the historic show’s ten-year anniversary.

2000 was a big year for SCI as they became a true touring force, settling into larger venues for the first time, including Red Rocks in Colorado, The Warfield in San Francisco, and New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre. The band finished off a long East Coast fall tour with three nights in Athens and Atlanta, GA, and it’s the middle night on 11.17.00 that fans still talk about as one of the best in the band’s career. With special guest Tony Furtado on banjo for several songs and featuring covers of Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, John Coltrane, Peter Rowan, and Peter Gabriel, as well as bluegrass standards and a host of SCI originals, this show is the perfect way to kick off The String Cheese Incident’s archival series “Rhythm of the Road.”

Incident in Atlanta features the entire 11.17.00 performance, lovingly remastered from the original 24-bit multi-track master tapes and made available on CD, download (MP3, FLAC) and, an SCI first, 24-bit FLAC download. It will be released on November 9th in stores, through SCI Merchandise, and www.LiveCheese.com.

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Track List for Rhythm of the Road: Volume 1, Incident in Atlanta – 11.17.00 is as follows:

Set 1: Smile, Joyful Sound > Orange Blossom Special*, Barstool, Pygmy Pony,
Missing Me > Ramble On

Set 2: Outside And Inside, Impressions > Glory Chords Jam > Midnight
Moonlight*, This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) > Miss Brown's Teahouse,
Wake Up, Black Clouds*

Encore: The Old Home Place*, Shenandoah Breakdown*, Shakin' the Tree*

* featuring Tony Furtado on banjo and guitar

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This year, after a three-year hiatus from the touring circuit, The String Cheese Incident played just a few select shows that sold out in minutes. By all accounts, the epic performers were well worth the long wait. Refreshed and inspired and still making music on their own terms, SCI seems to be once again reinventing the music industry model. Stay tuned for announcement of the band’s highly anticipated 2011 plans.

Bela Fleck: An African Edification

I first became immersed into African music from the influence of an amazing musician, friend, and teacher Matt Wasowski currently with Mohammed Alidu and the Bizung Family, and Zivanai Masango and Pachedu and formerly with Jaka and Jyemo amongst other groups. Matt who plays mostly guitar, also dabbles and even builds with his students many African instruments such as the Mbira or thumb piano and Marimbas.

Tony Trischka Partners w/ ArtistWorks to Produce Online Banjo School

Artistworks, the innovative online video-based learning company, has partnered with Tony Trischka, legendary banjo recording artist, performer, composer and educator, to open the most advanced online banjo school available.

The Tony Trischka School of Banjo uses ArtistWorks’ revolutionary “record-and-upload-anywhere” video exchange technology to offer a full range of instruction and learning opportunities as well as the social networking to create a worldwide online network of banjo players of all skill levels.

ArtistWorks’ powerful new technology enables Tony (from anywhere on the road) to use video to interact with students; review their video submissions and quickly respond to them with high-quality video recording and/or written responses.  These student/teacher video exchanges also become Master Classes on the site for all students to view and learn from. As Tony comments, “My School of Banjo is an enormous leap beyond any other online banjo-teaching site.”

The site is expected to launch late July, 2009.

Tony Trischka is a giant among banjo virtuosos, with a star-power recording legacy, nominated for a Grammy in 2007 and winning the Independent Music Award in 2008 for Best Americana Album. Tony is highly regarded for his teaching books and erudition in banjo and Americana music history. David Butler, CEO of ArtistWorks, says, “We are very pleased to have Tony join us as our latest partner.  He’s not only a virtuoso, he’s the consummate educator. It is our honor to be working together.”

ArtistWorks, Inc. is a Napa, California company that creates innovative, instructional subscription websites for such artists as Andreas Oberg, Jimmy Bruno, DJ Qbert, Tony Trischka, Christie-Peery Skousen and Howard Levy.