Banjos! Banjos! Banjos! This week, the Nippertown music scene is being invaded by some of the very finest five-string players on the planet, providing fans with a unique opportunity to hear the many facets of the banjo.
It all kicks off on Thursday (November 3) when the Grascals make a tour stop at the Troy Savings Bank Music in Troy. They may not have a whole lot of mainstream name recognition, but among bluegrass circles, they’re at the top of everybody’s list.
The band made its recording debut with their self-titled album in 2005, earning them the Best Emerging Artists award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. In the six short years since then, they’ve racked more awards than they can possibly fit on their collective mantle – including two IBMA Entertainers of the Year awards. The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) has honored them with Album of the Year (twice), all-around Band of the Year (three times) and Instrumental Group of the Year (five times).
One of the key ingredients of the Grascals’ blazing bluegrass sound is Kristin Scott Benson, who is currently the reigning Banjo Player of the year from both IBMA (for the fourth consecutive year) and SPBGMA (two-time winner).
And opening the show for the Grascals at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall will be Ramblin Jug Stompers, featuring Nippertown’s own bodacious banjo picker Bowtie.
The Grascals bring their blazing bluegrass sound to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy on Thursday (November 3). Ramblin Jug Stompers will open the show at 8pm. Tix are $25, $30 & $35; students $12.
OTHER UPCOMING BANJO BONANZA WEEK EVENTS:
FRIDAY: “Give Me the Banjo” on WMHT-TV at 9pm. Steve Martin narrates the documentary that brings together contemporary players — including Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Mike Seeger, Don Vappie, Abigail Washburn and the Carolina Chocolate Drops — with folklorists, historians and instrument makers to tell the story of America’s instrument in all its richness and diversity. The film includes footage of the historic “New York Banjo” concert that was held at The Egg in Albany in 2002.
SUNDAY: Bela Fleck & the Flecktones in concert at The Egg, Albany. Banjo innovator Bela Fleck leads the reunion of the band’s original members, including the return of prodigal harmonicat-pianist Howard Levy. 7:30pm. $39.50 & $49.50.