Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular

Tony Trischka

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Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular Review

by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

Banjo innovator Tony Trischka's vision has cut a wide swath across the contemporary music scene, touching both time-held and progressive traditions with folk and bluegrass. Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular is less a new thrust in a new direction than an overview allowing Trischka and his talented friends to revisit highlights in their own careers. Overall, the effort veers toward conservative, instrumental music ("Bon Qua Blues") supplemented by the occasional vocal ("Fox on the Run") that most listeners would recognize as bluegrass. On each cut, Trischka is joined by another renowned banjoist within a bluegrass setting (mandolin, bass, guitars). On the opener, "Farewell Blues," he's joined by none other than Earl Scruggs; on "Twilight Kingdom," "Ivory Toad of Catalan," and "Armando's Children," he's paired with Béla Fleck. As one might guess, the earlier selection with Scruggs is a little less adventurous than the ones with Fleck, but since the acoustic instrumentation remains the same, it all flows of a piece. Perhaps the oddest partner on Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular is comic Steve Martin. Those with longer memories, however, will recall Martin's television appearances when the banjo often formed part of his standup act. With lots of talented sparring partners and solid material, Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular will especially appeal to Trischka's older, more conservative fans.

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