Tonight at Rockwood, there’s a lot going on.
Most notably, Punch Brother Noam Pikelny, recently crowned Banjo Player of the Year by IBMA, takes the stage with famed fiddler Stuart Duncan. The duo will play songs off of Pikelny’s new album, Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe (Amazon) – an adaptation Baker’s sacred 1976 recording of Monroe instrumentals. While Pikely and Duncan will play as a duet, the new album features some of our other favorite old time cats, including Bryan Sutton on guitar, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Mike Bub (formerly of Del McCoury Band) on bass.
As Pikelny set out to build his album around the Baker album, he got frustrated while trying to transcribe J.D. Crowe banjo solos. Here’s how he explained it to the Roanoke Times:
“I came to the sense that I will never be able to play bluegrass banjo as well as J.D. Crowe does,” Pikelny remembered.
But there might be another way. What if instead of transcribing and playing banjo parts, he transcribed and played fiddle parts?
“I could play these tunes and maybe shine some new light on this material just because of the way I would play it on the banjo,” he said. “Translate Kenny to banjo, note for note, with a level of precision that typically has been shied away from, due to aesthetic or technical considerations.”
SICK. Check out a video preview of the tour below. Pikelny and Duncan take Rockwood’s Stage 2 at 9:30, but are preceded by one of our favorite Carolina string bands, Chatham County Line (note: same stage, separate ticket), at 7:30. Only to complicate your lives further, at 7PM on Stage 3 former Ollabelle members Fiona McBain and Glenn Patscha are performing under the banner of their new project, The Big Bright. Even after the Pikelny show, you can probably catch the tail end of Michael Daves’ weekly set on Stage 1. God speed.