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Posted October 1, 2010
Are you a bluegrass fan who just can’t get enough banjo? Then this is just the snappy and innovative album for you. Pyrotechnic five-string duets performed with excellent accompaniment are on the menu of Tony Trischka’s “Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular.” Originally from New York, Tony began picking the banjo in 1963 at age 14. One of his students, Bela Fleck, is also prominently featured on this project as both a player and tunewriter. The other nimble-fingered banjo-players in the duets include Earl Scruggs, Steve Martin, Alison Brown, Tom Adams, Scott Vestal, Noam Pikelny, Kenny Ingram and Bill Emerson. Quick-paced romps give way to bright and breezy grooves with all of the standard bluegrass instruments getting a piece of the action. The guitar breaks from David Grier, Kenny Smith and Tony Rice are especially noteworthy, although I found it interesting that Grier’s were isolated rather far right in the stereo mix. At almost nine minutes in length, Twilight Kingdom begins with melodious interplay between Tony and Bela before being infused with added hustle four minutes into the piece. They also collaborate on the project’s leanest arrangement, “Armando’s Children,” written by Bela. From the repertoire of Jim Eanes and The Shenandoah Boys, the album closes with Steve Martin and Tony Trischka in the drivers’ seats for “Plunkin’ Rag” (aka “Ridin’ the Waves”) in which the two pickers provide harmony with their Scruggs tuners. Don’t try that at home without the ability to overdub! A few vocal bluegrass numbers provide some changes in the disc’s overall musical mood. This is a top notch, expressive production that shows how much adoration the banjo is deserving of. (Joe Ross)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.