Nora Brown—the Brooklyn, NY soon-to-be-eighteen-year-old banjoist/vocalist who has appeared at Newport Folk Festival, The Kennedy Center, Trans-Pecos Festival, globalFEST, and more—has teamed up with award-winning fiddle player and fellow Brooklynite Stephanie Coleman for a new EP Lady of the Lake, out today on Jalopy Records.
Songlines Magazine said, "Despite their twenty-year age difference, the chemistry and richness of Brown and Coleman’s musical partnership cannot be overstated, and it reflects the six years the duo have performed live together."
Oregon's Willamette Week said that the duo work at "returning the music instead to its roots as a source for social uplift and spiritual connection."
Folk Radio UK says that the EP "leaves you wanting more," continuing, "There is a shrewd exuberance in the way Nora and Stephanie play together on this EP, taking turns to lead and leaving plenty of space for each other to shine. They play with consistent flair and an audible mastery of their instruments."
World Music Central called Nora "a banjo prodigy."
Coleman learned the instrumental title track from a performance by Eric Merrill at the fiddle competition in West Virginia’s Appalachian String Band Music Festival, aka “Clifftop.” The song originated with Galax, VA fiddler Parley Parsons via the great fiddle and banjo player Paul Brown. It was released today as the first single from the EP (OK to share).
Brown performed “Copper Kettle” at the Lincoln Center event Voices of a People’s History of the United States: Celebrating the Centenary of Howard Zinn alongside Claire Danes, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, and others. Here, Nora plays archtop acoustic guitar and Stephanie’s plaintive fiddle sets the scene.
Over the past two decades, fellow Brooklynite Stephanie has established herself as a highly respected and sought-after practitioner of traditional Appalachian and Midwestern style old-time fiddle. She holds the record for most ribbons won in the renowned fiddle contest at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, WV—where she first heard and learned the title track of the EP. Stephanie has recorded and toured internationally with artists such as trailblazing all-women stringband Uncle Earl, Watchhouse’s Andrew Marlin, GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Aoife O’Donovan, and clawhammer banjo virtuoso Adam Hurt.
The EP was produced, recorded, and mixed by the legendary Peter K. Siegel, who recorded Neil Young, Joseph Spence, and Doc Watson; recorded concerts that were later released by Mississippi John Hurt, Roscoe Holcomb, and Dock Boggs; taped an iconic Bob Dylan bootleg in the basement of Gerde’s Folk City; and has made vital field recordings on musicians from Indonesia, India, China, and Sweden.
Of the duo, Siegel said, “I was a big fan of both Nora and Steph when they were performing separately. Their new collaboration is more than the sum of its parts. They make their virtuosity so much fun to listen to. Their music is deeply rooted in American tradition, but the excitement of their performances is all theirs.”
The EP comes amidst more activity this year, having played two sold-out shows in London; performed festivals in Canada, England, and Denmark; completed a spring, 2023 Japanese tour; a recent appearance on WNYC’s tastemaker Soundcheck show; and the duo’s west coast debuts with concerts in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA.
Other upcoming releases on Jalopy Records include Cuatro Vidas by acclaimed New Mexican string band Lone Piñon and Secret Museum of Mankind: Atlas of Instruments – Fiddles, vol. 1 (various artists).
Nora Brown and Stephanie Coleman Tour Dates
August 4 - Cafe Wha - New York, NY (with Sarah Kate Morgan)
Aug 11-13 - Edmonton Folk Music Festival - Alberta, Canada
Nov 11 - Brooklyn Folk Fest - Brooklyn, NY