GRAMMY-nominated banjoist Noam Pikelny has been praised as “a player of unlimited range and astonishing precision” by comedian-banjoist Steve Martin, who goes on to call Pikelny a player adept at “not only traditional bluegrass, but classical, rock and jazz oriented music.” His new release, NOAM PIKELNY PLAYS KENNY BAKER PLAYS BILL MONROE, is the first complete banjo adaptation of Kenny Baker’s 1976 seminal recording of Bill Monroe instrumentals that is poised to take the bluegrass world by storm. The concept for the album first grew out of the word-play on the original album title, but the more Pikelny explored the idea, the more he realized that it was both musically exciting and challenging. Pikelny delved into the intricacies of Kenny Baker’s fiddle playing and emerged with note for note versions of Baker’s fiddle arrangements for banjo. Joining Pikelny on this tour de force project are friends who also happen to be the finest instrumentalists in bluegrass: Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Bryan Sutton (guitar), Ronnie McCoury (mandolin), and Mike Bub (bass).
NOAM PIKELNY PLAYS KENNY BAKER PLAYS BILL MONROE is Pikelny’s third recording for Compass Records. It follows on the heels of 2011’s GRAMMY-nominated Beat The Devil and Carry A Rail. Upon release, the album hit both the Billboard Top Heatseekers and Bluegrass album charts and was the focus of a Funny or Die parody video starring Pikelny with appearances from Steve Martin, Ed Helms, Earl Scruggs, Chris Thile, Gillian Welch, and others. Pikelny is also the inaugural winner of the 2010 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass which earned him an appearance on The Letterman Show. Pikelny will be on tour this October in support of the album with a band that includes Byran Sutton (guitar), Jesse Cobb (mandolin), Barry Bales (bass), and Luke Bulla (fiddle).
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