28 July 2022

Banjo Month on the Bluegrass Situation

The Bluegrass Situation (BGS) online magazine has declared Banjo Month, marking it by giving away a Recording King RK-R20 Songster resonator 5-string, and running a series of articles by distinguished players with their own perspectives on banjo history and their own favourites among recorded banjo music. In 'Kristin Scott Benson shares her essential '80s bluegrass banjo tracks', Kristin Scott Benson gives a nineteen-track playlist of some of the music that she took in while learning to play. Note: these are not banjo instrumentals, but songs on which some notable banjo playing can be heard.

In the brief but weighty interview 'BGS 5+5: Lonesome River Band's Sammy Shelor', Maggie Rainwater asks Sammy Shelor some fundamental questions (e.g. 'What artist has influenced you the most?'; answer, 'Tony Rice'), and adds a playlist of five songs plus a Lonesome River Band video.

In "Caamp's "Lavender days" gets its glow from Evan Westfall's flatpicking banjo', Lynne Margolis interviews the co-founder and banjoist of the folk-pop-rock band Caamp, who transferred to banjo the flatpicking he knew from guitar. Four videos of the band are included.

In 'Wes Corbett's banjo needs: 10 songs that make him happy', Wes Corbett gives not only an audio playlist of a pretty wide range of banjo music, but a YouTube video of each of them as well. The last player on his list is Jake Blount, who has a Banjo Month feature, 'Watch: Jake Blount, "Once there was no sun"', devoted to the official video (also on YouTube) of a track from his album The new faith, due for release on 23 Sept.

And in 'Can banjo transcend cultural divisions? Bill Evans' new album makes the case', Lindsey Terrell interviews Bill Evans (below) on his personal involvement with the banjo and its history, his new DVD/CD project The banjo in America, and his hopes for 'a broader vision of all of us playing the banjo, all of us celebrating the banjo, and using it to transcend some of our cultural divisions'.
© Richard Hawkins

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