MerleFest 2018: Alison Brown

As MerleFest 2018 approaches, a highlight from one of the 100+ performing acts will be featured daily…

Alison Brown doesn’t play the banjo. Alison Brown plays music on the banjo.

In the instrumental food chain, the five-string banjo is one of the more dominant beasts: loud, brash and very hard to tame. In 1945, Earl Scruggs made the biggest leap in harnessing its raw power, bringing a revolutionary precision of touch and depth of tone.

Thousands of three-finger style banjo players have since made their marks, but none has cut such a path or moved so far along it as has Alison Brown. She’s acclaimed as one of today’s finest progressive banjo players, but you rarely find her in a conventional bluegrass setting. Instead, she’s known for leading an ensemble that successfully marries a broad array of roots-influenced music: folk, jazz, Celtic and Latin.

With her new Compass project, The Song of the Banjo, the 2015 IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award and 2001 GRAMMY Award-winning musician/composer/producer/entrepreneur plants another flag in her ongoing journey of sonic exploration.

“It’s amazing to me how much the banjo changed in the 20th Century,” Brown says. “And here we are in the dawn of the 21st; who knows where it may go?”

For one answer to that question, look no further than The Song of the Banjo.


Bio provided courtesy of Larry Nager at www.alisonbrown.com

Make sure you see Alison Brown perform at one (or all!) of her three sets during MerleFest on Saturday or Sunday (April 28-29).

Saturday, 1:45pm-2:30pm (Hillside Stage)
Saturday, 5:45pm-6:30pm (Walker Center)
Sunday, 11:15am-12:15pm (Watson Stage)

View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.

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