12 October 2020

More banjo honours

This is Hall of Fame Week at the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City. As the COVID-19 crisis prevents the Museum from having a regular induction ceremony and celebration this year, every day this week one of the new Hall of Fame members is being interviewed by Johnny Baier, the Museum's executive director, starting today (Mon. 12 Oct.), and rounding off (Fri. 16 Oct.) with a coast-to-coast road trip of the USA, visiting each of the inductees and presenting their induction ceremony from their hometowns. Four of the five new members belong to the bluegrass world.

The programme will include special guest appearances by Dolly Parton, Tony Trischka, John McEuen, Jason Skinner, Bill Dendle, Shelley Burns, and many others. It and the daily interviews will be watchable on the American Banjo Museum's YouTube channel, where an eighteen-minute interview with Geoff Stelling of Stelling Banjos is already up. The full list of inductees for 2020 is:

Gary 'Biscuit' Davis: 5-string performance
Ed 'Fast Eddie' Erickson: 4-string performance
Don Reno: Historical
Geoff Stelling: Design and manufacture
Roger Sprung: Instruction and education

Short bios, prepared by the Museum, are in John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today. Fans in Ireland will remember Gary 'Biscuit' Davis from when he came over here as banjo-player with the Nation and Blackwell Bluegrass Band in 2014. The BIB shows (above right) the cover of Roger Sprung's 1963 LP Progressive bluegrass; he had an incalculable influence as one of the earliest and most enduring bluegrass banjo players in the New York region, and as a link between the bluegrass world and the urban folk revival.

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