Posts Tagged ‘noam pikelny’

Top of the World: Noam Pikelny – Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe

Posted on January 14th, 2014 in Recent posts by .


Words by Rose Skelton

4616Extra Pickles on a bluegrass classic

It might not come as a surprise to those familiar with the music of genius banjo player Noam Pikelny that this album requires a little bit of explanation. Kentuckian Bill Monroe (1911-1996) is considered to be the creator of bluegrass music, and Kenny Baker (1926-2011) was the long-term fiddle player in his band. In 1976 Baker recorded an album of Monroe’s songs that had been passed down to him. This album is, to many, the seminal piece of music from the bluegrass repertoire.

Noam Pikelny, a member of Punch Brothers and other alt-bluegrass bands, thought he would revisit a reworking of Monroe’s songs, taking the incredibly complex fiddle tunes and transcribing them note for note to the banjo, whilst working hard to keep his own voice. The result? A mammoth collection of tunes such as the swinging ‘Mississippi Waltz’, which sings with Pikelny’s characteristic careful and complex vibe and ‘Wheel Hoss’, so fast it makes the head spin. Pikelny performs it here with incredible precision, something that can in fact be said for the whole album. This is definitely an album that will appeal to bluegrass geeks, but – as is Pikelny’s gift – he makes it so enjoyable for the rest of us to share in too.

TRACK TO TRY: ‘Cheyenne’

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Click here to buy the Jan/Feb (#97) issue of Songlines or download the free Songlines app from iTunes or Google Play.

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Katie Derham’s playlist and the 10 best new releases

Posted on December 6th, 2013 in Recent posts by .

The January/February 2014 (#97) issue includes our regular Top of the World CD with ten tracks from the world’s finest new releases. The CD also includes five tracks selected by BBC Radio and TV presenter Katie Derham.


The Top of the World CD includes tracks from Congolese legends Black Bazar; banjo whizz Noam Pikelny; Brazilian music icon Siba and many more.

Pick up your copy here, at selected UK HMV stores, selected WHSmiths and all good record retailers. Feast your ears on these fresh new tracks:

* Black Bazar ‘Black Bazar Round 2 (radio edit)’ on Lusafrica
* Siba ‘Preparando o Salto (Prepare to Jump)’ on Mais Um Discos
* Ellika, Solo & Rafael ‘Sanka/Virrvals’ on Country & Eastern 
* Noam Pikelny ‘Cheyenne’ on Compass Records
* Eliades Ochoa ‘All Along the Watchtower’ on Buda Musique
* Arun Ghosh ‘Sufi Stomp (Soul of Sindh)’ on Camoci Records
* Alsarah ‘Salaam Nubia’ on The Nile Project
* Will Pound ‘Amazing Grace’ on Lulubug Records
* Mamar Kassey ‘La Famille’ on Innacor Records
* Ashwini Bhide Despande ‘Ustav Pancham se Gara’ on East Meets West Music

Plus Katie Durham’s playlist:

* Milton Nascimento ‘Louva-a-Deus’ on Warner Bros Records
* Seu Jorge ‘Carolina’ on Mr Bongo
* Joyce Moreno ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ on Far Our Recordings
* Bebel Gilberto ‘Bananeira’ on Ziriguiboom
* Amicklar & Chocolate ‘Som de Preto’ on Mr Bongo

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Punch Brothers at London’s Scala

Posted on May 17th, 2012 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Photo by Danny Clinch

Last Monday the ever-wonderful Punch Brothers rocked a very dreary London to the most wildly enthusiastic crowd I think I’ve ever encountered.

Chris Thile and his quirky bluegrass cohorts, all disturbingly talented and very much famous in their own rights, rattled through a set-list packed with hits old and new – including ‘Rye Whiskey’, ‘This Girl’ and ‘Movement and Location’ – at Scala in Kings Cross before recording for Later… With Jools Holland a mere few days later.

Each and every member of the band – frontman and mandolin virtuoso Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, banjo player Noam Pikelny, violinist Gabe Witcher and bassist and Paul Kowert – appeared to be blown-away by the response of the crowd, who whooped and cheered throughout the gig, clearly showing their appreciation for Thile and Co and what they are doing for the bluegrass scene.

Based out of New York, Punch Brothers, who are said to be Elton John’s favourite band, are currently playing a key and impactful role in the new American acoustic movement.

Each of the individual musicians has crammed plenty of solo work and/or other collaborations in between Punch Brothers commitments. Pikelny has released a second solo disc, Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail, produced by Witcher. Eldridge joined Pikelny on his record and, along with Witcher, on his tour. Kowert has been playing live dates in guitarist Jordan Tice’s trio with hammer dulcimer player Simon Chrisman, with which he released the album The Secret History. The peripatetic Thile, formerly of Nickel Creek, recorded a Grammy–nominated duo set with Brooklyn guitar savant Michael Daves, Sleep with One Eye Open; released The Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Stuart Duncan (which won a Songlines Music Award for best cross-cultural collaboration); and performed live in London with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau.


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