ony Trischka is perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world. For more than 35 years, his stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians. He was not only considered among the very best pickers, he was also one of the instrument’s top teachers, and created numerous instructional books, teaching video tapes and cassettes.
A native of Syracuse, New York, Trischka’s interest in banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio’s “Charlie and the MTA” in 1963. Two years later, he joined the Down City Ramblers, where he remained through 1971. That year, Trischka made his recording debut on 15 Bluegrass Instrumentals with the band Country Cooking; at the same time, he was also a member of Country Granola. In 1973, he began a two-year stint with Breakfast Special. Between 1974 and 1975, he recorded two solo albums, Bluegrass Light and Heartlands. After one more solo album in 1976, Banjoland, he went on to become musical leader for the Broadway show The Robber Bridegroom. Trischka toured with the show in 1978, the year he also played with the Monroe Doctrine.
Beginning in 1978, he also played with artists such as Peter Rowan, Richard Greene, and Stacy Phillips. In the early 1980s, he began recording with his new group Skyline, which recorded its first album in 1983. Subsequent albums included Robot Plane Flies over Arkansas (solo, 1983), Stranded in the Moonlight (with Skyline, 1984) and Hill Country (solo, 1985). In 1984, he performed in his first feature film, Foxfire. Three years later, he worked on the soundtrack for Driving Miss Daisy. Trischka produced the Belgian group Gold Rush’s No More Angels in 1988. The following year, Skyline recorded its final album, Fire of Grace. He also recorded the theme song for Books on the Air, a popular National Public Radio Show, and continued his affiliation with the network by appearing on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, From Our Front Porch, and other radio shows. Trischka’s solo recordings include 1993’s World Turning, 1995’s Glory Shone Around: A Christmas Collection and 1999’s Bend. New Deal followed in 2003. The new studio album was a bluesy adaptation of bluegrass standards that featured, among other things, a vocal cameo by Loudon Wainwright.
Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, featuring an appearance by comedian Steve Martin, Earl Scruggs and many other luminaries, came out four years later. For this recording he went back to Bluegrass and reinvigorated the double banjo tradition of that style along the way and brought along some fine companions. In October 2007, Tony was given an IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) award for Banjo Player of the Year 2007. Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular received IBMA awards for Recorded Event of the Year, Instrumental Album of the Year and a Grammy Nomination.
With his fearless musical curiosity as the guiding force, Tony Trischka’s latest critically acclaimed release, Territory roams widely through the banjo’s creative terrain. Nine selections partner Tony with fellow banjoists Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger, Bill Evans, Bill Keith, Bruce Molsky, and twelve all-Trischka solo tracks explore a panorama of tunings, banjo sounds, and traditions; tapping the creative potential of America’s signature musical instrument.
Throughout his upcoming tours, Tony will be presenting both his Solo works from Territory and will continue to present an “astonishing” (Boston Herald) group of musicians to perform his Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular.
Courtesy Rounder Records
Courtesy Smithsonian Folkways
Courtesy Hi-Gain Management
Sandra Brennan – courtesy All Music Guide
“…the godfather of what’s sometimes called new acoustic music.”
– New York Times
“…most influential banjo player of the latter part of the 20th century, certainly in terms of his profound influence on succeeding generations of modern players.”
– Banjo Newsletter
“Urban bluegrass whiz.”
– Time Magazine
“Explosive banjo playing.”
– Boston Globe
“One of the most impressive banjoists alive.”
“Keep playing them new notes.”
– Bill Monroe