Although this doesn't have illustrations of all the styles Tony Trischka has played on banjo -- that might take a box set -- a lot of territory is indeed covered in Territory. The 21 tracks include 12 on which Trischka plays his instrument unaccompanied by any other musicians, and nine on which he plays with various other instrumentalists, the most renowned of those being Mike Seeger, Bill Keith, and Pete Seeger (who sings on the piece to which he contributes, "Leatherwing Bat"). Perhaps because this is a Smithsonian Folkways release, the mostly original songs usually do stick to folk and bluegrass styles and don't get too far out. But there are some influences from blues, Celtic music, and Hawaiian music to be heard, four of the tunes (including the most notably Hawaiian-affected one, "Hawaii Slide-O") having been written for the 2005 National Public Radio show The Next Big Thing. Clearly recorded and immaculately performed, it's a fine showcase for both Trischka's virtuosity and imagination, though not a showcase of everything he can do with the banjo. The 32-page liner notes include an essay and history of the banjo by fellow top banjoist Bob Carlin, as well as annotation to each of the tracks by Trischka himself.
by Richie Unterberger