Paddle Faster, I Hear Banjo Music!
Our weekend trip to upstate South Carolina was wonderful. The Artisphere International Arts Festival in downtown Greenville was a delightful blend of artisans, musicians, and culinary treats. The beautiful Falls Park along the Reedy River was a perfect backdrop for the festival.
Greenville is nestled in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and we did plenty of exploring while we were there. As paddlers we were particularly interested in the many rivers and lakes of the tri-state (GA, SC, and NC) area. Perhaps best known is the Chattooga River made famous by the movie Deliverance.
The only banjo music we heard all weekend was from the new CD by banjo veteran Tony Trischka, and what an amazing CD it is. Territory is a generous helping of banjo music, history, and lore from one of the instrument’s true masters.
If you were expecting the fast bluegrass breaks or genre-bending blend of folk, old-time, and jazz that has earned Tony Trischka Grammy nominations, frequent appearances on “A Prairie Home Companion”, and the admiration of fans worldwide, well, that’s all here, and much more.
Territory is Tony Trischka’s first solo project with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and I hope it is the first of many. This diverse collection of 21 tunes showcases not only Trischka’s superb mastery of the instrument, but the history and versatility of the banjo. The tunes on Territory range from the expected bluegrass breakdown and old-time country, to kora music from West Africa played on a banjo made from a gourd, Celtic reels, a Tin Pan Alley double banjo composition, and even a Hawaiian slide number.
Clawhammer banjo great, Bob Carlin, wrote the introductory liner notes for Territory, a full eleven pages that includes a short history of this wonderfully versatile instrument. Tony Trischka has also provided detailed notes, including tunings and background information for each cut.
Tony Trischka’s Territory is a must have for any banjo aficionado, but also a delightful addition to any collection of great acoustic music.
Artist: Tony Trischka
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
Available from: Smthsonian Folkways and Amazon.com