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Legendary Clawhammer Banjo Stylist James Watson Dies

James Watson and Grandpa JoneFolk musician James Watson, 81, of Roanoke, Ala., died June 1, 2017 at his home from pulmonary heart disease and complications of type II diabetes, according to a family representative. Watson, a clawhammer banjo stylist, appeared multiple times at America's National Folk Festival, National Black Arts Festival, 1982 World's Fair, 1996 Olympics, colleges, numerous bluegrass festivals and folk festivals. He was often seen on PBS in shows such as "Tonight at Ferlinghettis" and the Alan Lomax production "The Appalachian Journey."

American Banjo Museum Presents "America's Super Picker: Roy Clark"

America's Super Picker - Roy ClarkOklahoma City, OK -- American Banjo Museum's newest exhibit, America's Super Picker: Roy Clark, focuses on Oklahoma's own country music and entertainment legend. The exhibit, which features stage costumes and an instrument from Clark's private collection, opens April 7th at the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City's historic Bricktown district.

Banjo Maestro Ned Luberecki Releases “Take Five”

Ned Luberecki - Take FiveNashville, TN -- Ned Luberecki's new album, Take Five, is independently released TODAY, March 31, 2017. A master of his instrument and adept in multiple styles Ned recorded at The Rec Room, Ben Surratt's studio in East Nashville this self produced, the 14-track album is a mix of originals and covers and clocks in at just under 45 minutes.

Eddie Adcock to Return for Neurological Update

Eddie AdcockBluegrass banjo fans will remember that in 2008, Eddie Adcock went in for his first brain surgery to correct a condition that was impacting his playing. Since that time, he has gone in for additional surgeries to maintain his deep brain stimulation surgery. A battery powered device was installed and it is possible that the battery needs attention.

Garrett Newton Releases Single from Debut Album

Young Heart Old SoulPinecastle Records is happy to introduce Garrett Newton to the wider bluegrass community with the release of the first single from his new album. Newton’s debut album Young Heart Old Soul, to be released March 10th, 2017, is a real quality production that is sure to be well respected in the bluegrass world.

Smithsonian Folkways Makes More Than 5,500 Arhoolie Tracks Available

I Wonder Where You Are TonightSmithsonian Folkways is making more than 300 standout albums (over 5,500 tracks) from the famed Arhoolie Records catalog available digitally and on CD through the Smithsonian Folkways website starting October 21 (folkways.si.edu/arhoolie). The remaining titles from the roughly 650-album collection will be released on an ongoing basis. Arhoolie Records is best known for "down home" blues, jazz, country, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Mexican-American, and world music. Smithsonian Folkways acquired the Arhoolie catalog in May 2016 from its founder Chris Strachwitz and his business partner Tom Diamente. It is the largest addition to the Smithsonian Folkways catalogue since it launched in 1987, bringing the total number of available tracks to almost 60,000.

African Roots of the Banjo at BCM Museum Monday Evening!

Birthplace of Country Music MuseumBristol, VA/TN -- The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is proud to present "African Roots of the Banjo," a lecture by Dr. Cece Conway, followed by a concert with the renowned Blind Boy Paxton on Monday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m. The lecture and concert is part of the Lift Every Voice Series happening this fall at the museum.

Rhiannon Giddens Wins Steve Martin Prize For Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass

Los Angeles, CA -- Critically acclaimed singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Rhiannon Giddens is the recipient of the seventh annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Described by T Bone Burnett as one of the “most profound musicians active today,” Giddens is the co-founder of the GRAMMY Award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, in which she sang and played banjo and fiddle. That group has long investigated and promoted the foundational role African-American performers and songwriters have played in folk-music history, while making recordings that are vital, contemporary, and exuberant.

Alison Brown Releases 360 Video for “What’s Going On?”

360 Video of What's Going OnProgressive. Pioneer. Envelope pusher. CFO. These are some of the many terms that have been used to describe banjo innovator, producer and record company owner, Alison Brown. And now, she adds "early adopter" to the list with the release of a 360 video shot during recording sessions at Compass Sound Studios, home of the record label she co-founded in 1996.

Banjo Veteran Stuart Wyrick to Release Solo Album

East Tennessee SunriseNashville, TN -- Rural Rhythm Records is pleased to announce the release of East Tennessee Sunrise, by veteran banjoist Stuart Wyrick on August 5th. Wyrick is no stranger to Bluegrass music. He is currently a member of Flashback, the reunion band including top Bluegrass musicians who worked with J.D. Crowe & The New South in the mid-1990s, and a former member of the Dale Ann Bradley Band. Prior to that he was a member of the popular Bluegrass group Brand New Strings who recorded two albums for Rural Rhythm Records and released several successful singles. Stuart was also a founding member of the Bluegrass Gospel group New Road, who recorded six albums, the Better Way Quartet, who recorded four albums, and his first group The Tater Valley Boys.

Gold Tone Scores Best of Show with New Banjo

Gold Tone AC-1 BanjoA 5 string banjo for $199.99 wins best of show at the Summer NAMM show. Gold Tone's unique design mates their superior sounding composite rim, with a slim line neck. It weighs in at only 3 pounds 10 ounces so it’s perfect for beginners, travel or kids. Handsomely outfitted with matching black neck, rim, ZG nut, and tuners. This entry-level banjo is fully set up in their Florida shop, includes a gig bag and carries our three year transferrable warranty.

New Music from Kristin Scott Benson

Kristin Scott Benson - StringworksNashville, TN -- Stringworks is the newest release from Kristin Scott Benson, four-time winner of the IBMA Instrumental Performer of the Year Award for Banjo. As a member of the three-time Grammy-nominated group, the Grascals, Benson has proven herself a polished artisan of complex compositions. Stringworks (Mountain Home Music Company) becomes available July 22, 2016.

Dale Perry Endorses Wilson Custom Banjos

Steve Wilson, proudly announces the endorsement of his latest custom banjo model “The Guardian,” by veteran bluegrass banjo picker, Dale Perry. The two banjo players, Dale with David Parmley and Cardinal Tradition; and Steve, with Wilson Banjo Co., recently ran into each other at the Boxcar Pinion Memorial Bluegrass Festival in Chattanooga, TN., where “The Guardian” custom model landed in the hands of Mr. Perry for the first time. Not long after the test drive, the five string ended up on stage for the David Parmley and Cardinal Tradition’s second set. Dale later had this to say about his new instrument:

2016 American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame Honorees Announced

J.D. CroweOklahoma City, OK -- The American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City is pleased to announce the 2016 inductees into the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame. The National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to honor jazz age four-string banjo pioneers as well as the contemporary artists, educators, manufacturers and promoters who carried on the traditions of their predecessors. The American Banjo Museum was, in its infancy, an extension of that Hall of Fame.

New Banjo Album, "Red Grass" from Ilya Toshinskiy

Hadley Music Group proudly released an instrumental album of original banjo tunes composed and performed by Ilya Toshinskiy on May 20, 2016. Ilya Toshinskiy has always been a bluegrass lover. That fact was beautifully established in the opening scene of the 2003 documentary “The Ballad of Bering Strait,” which follows the brief but memorable trajectory of his former band. A teenage Ilya, in his final exam on banjo at an elite Russian music academy in Moscow, introduces his program — a Bela Fleck number followed by “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” to professors who are clearly unfamiliar with bluegrass music. By the end of the performance, they are believers.

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