GRAMMY® Award-nominated banjo virtuoso Noam Pikelny‘s critically acclaimed album, Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe, won “Album of the Year” at the 25th International Bluegrass Music Awards (Raleigh, NC: Oct. 2, 2014). An extremely rare nod for an all-instrumental recording, Pikelny also won the award for “Banjo Player of the Year”. The International Bluegrass Music Awards recognize outstanding achievement and pioneering efforts in the genre as determined by professionals in the bluegrass music industry. Starting this week, Pikelny hits the road for two separate tours with some of today’s brightest Americana stars: Stuart Duncan and Aoife O’Donovan. Interviews and hi-res photos are available upon request.
“I’m truly honored,” says Pikelny after winning “Album of the Year”. “This record was a labor of love for me, and at best I was hoping to not get struck by lightning as retribution for putting my name in the same album title as Kenny Baker’s and Bill Monroe’s. While I’ve spent most of my career on the far fringes of this music, bluegrass music and its community mean the world to me, so the warm embrace from the IBMA this year is very special. To me, Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe is truly a band record, so the album of the year award is shared equally between Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, Ronnie McCoury, Mike Bub, and our producer Gabe Witcher. It goes without saying that many a glass were raised after the show last night to Kenny Baker.”
Beginning on Oct. 7, fans of Americana music will be bestowed with the exceptional opportunity of two modern masters of the banjo and fiddle together on one stage, performing a full set of originals and classics in a duo format. Hot off the heels of their spring/summer tour, Pikelny and 4-time GRAMMY® Award-winner Stuart Duncan hit the road appearing at select venues across the East Coast and Midwest (please see the tour dates listed below). The sound of the fiddle and banjo in duet is one of the most compelling musical textures to emerge from American Folk Music, and through the years has most commonly been featured interstitially within the context of a larger ensemble show (i.e. when the guitar player breaks a string!). However, these two giants of the genre step into the limelight with their forthcoming two-week tour.
Stemming from a musical friendship many years in the making, Aoife O’Donovan and Pikelny headline venues throughout the Rockies, Southwest and Midwest in November 2014. O’Donovan, widely renowned for her work with Crooked Still and her 2013 critically-acclaimed solo album Fossils, has quickly come to the forefront as one of today’s leading female vocalists. These two stars of American roots music have been crossing paths for more than a decade, so the magic between them finally hitting the national stage with their own ensemble was only a matter of time. In 2012, the duo initially collaborated when Pikelny featured O’Donovan as a guest vocalist on his GRAMMY® nominated, Beat the Devil & Carry a Rail, and they subsequently hit the road together to support the album. On the forthcoming tour, the singular Americana tour-de-force ensemble will also feature bassist Barry Bales (Alison Krauss & Union Station) and fiddler Shad Cobb (John Cowan Band).
Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to see these fine musicians on stage together this fall in select cities across the US! Below you’ll find bios on Pikelny, Duncan and O’Donovan, as well as all of the confirmed tour dates:
About Noam Pikelny
Winner of the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass (2010), Pikelny is a founding member of the Punch Brothers — a string ensemble hailed by the Boston Globe as “a virtuosic revelation,” and which The New Yorker describes as “wide-ranging and restlessly imaginative.” In 2012, his second solo release Beat The Devil and Carry A Rail received a GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Bluegrass Album.” His follow-up 2013 album,Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe, marks the first complete banjo adaptation of Kenny Baker’s 1976 seminal recording of Bill Monroeinstrumentals. The New York Times describes Noam’s reinvention of the classic Bluegrass canon as “a token of reverence, a feat of translation and a show of dominion.”
Over the last eight years with Punch Brothers, Pikelny has redefined the role of the banjo with his inimitable melodic work helping propel the instrument into mainstream music. Alongside Punch Brothers, he’s collaborated with the likes of Wilco, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, and Jon Brion for the soundtrack toThis is 40, a feature song on The Hunger Games soundtrack, and a collaboration with Marcus Mumford for the Coen Brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis. He’s shared the stage with The Decemberists, Béla Fleck, Dave Douglas, Steve Martin, Marcus Mumford, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and members of the Lincoln Center Chamber Orchestra.
About Stuart Duncan
Most notably known for his recent work on The Goat Rodeo Sessions with Yo Yo Ma, Chris Thile, and Edgar Meyer, consummate sideman Stuart Duncan has graced thousands of recording sessions over the course of his celebrated career. Duncan is a four-time GRAMMY® Award winner, a six-time Academy of Country Music award winner for “Fiddle Player of the Year,” and a winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s “Fiddle Player of the Year” award for seven consecutive years. His keen ability to masterfully shift between diverse styles has garnered opportunities to record/perform with Nashville’s biggest stars (Keith Urban, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton), bluegrass music’s finest pickers (Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, Béla Fleck), and today’s top hit-makers (Jonas Brothers, Jewel, Brad Paisley).
About Aoife O’Donovan
As the lead singer/founder of Crooked Still and female folk-noir trio Sometymes Why, Aoife O’Donovan has brought her remarkable talents to the attention of some of the most esteemed performers across roots, classical, bluegrass, and jazz. She wrote the famous “Lay My Burden Down”, originally featured on Alison Krauss’s number one country album, Paper Airplane, and has appeared as a special guest on A Prairie Home Companion. The vocalist was even recruited to record on the 2013 GRAMMY®-winning The Goat Rodeo Sessions, alongside stalwart musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Stuart Duncan.
Touted “a must-listen blend of bluegrass, folk and back-porch Americana” by Rolling Stone, O’Donovan’s solo effort Fossils was released in 2013, and she’s currently working on her highly-anticipated sophomore release due out in 2015. Produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket),Fossils features ten original songs and standout contributions from friends and frequent collaborators, including Sam Amidon and Dave Douglas. Rich in songs and unexpected textures, it bears a remarkable collaboration showcasing O’Donovan and Martine’s creative partnership.
Noam Pikelny & Stuart Duncan Tour Dates:
Oct. 7 – Rams Head On Stage – Annapolis, MD
Oct. 8 – Barns at Wolftrap – Vienna, VA
Oct. 10 – Harvester Performance Center – Rocky Mount, VA
Oct. 13 & 14 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York City
Oct. 15 – The Ridgefield Playhouse – Ridgefield, CT
Oct. 16 – Colonial Theatre – Pittsfield, MA
Oct. 17 – Sugar Loaf PAC – Sugar Loaf, NY
Oct. 18 – WKCTC Clemens FAC – Paducah, KY
Aoife O’Donovan & Noam Pikelny Tour Dates:
Nov. 1 – Peery Egyptian Theatre – Ogden, UT
Nov. 2 – Musical Instrument Museum – Phoenix, AZ
Nov. 3 – Fox Theatre – Boulder, CO
Nov. 4 – Strings Music Festival – Steamboat Springs, CO
Nov. 6 – Stoughton Opera House – Stoughton, WI
Nov. 7 – North Shore CPA – Skokie, IL
Nov. 8 – Lincoln Theatre – Columbus, OH
Nov. 9 – Buskirk-Chumley Theater – Bloomington, IN
Nov. 11 – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI
Nov. 12 – Music Box Supper Club – Cleveland, OH