Banjos at the Birchmere

Photo by: Jim McMullenIn you’re in the Eastern Virginia area, and a fan of old time banjo playing, here’s an event you might want to check out this weekend. The Old Time Banjo Festival is happening tonight at the Birchmere. The event is, more or less, a release party for two new projects Cathy Fink has out on the Rounder label.

Cathy Fink will headline the event with some very special guests. She will, of course, be joined by her musical partner Marcy Marxer, but also by Grammy winner David Holt, and music historian Mike Seeger. Other musicians on the bill for the event include Mark Schatz, Reed Martin, Adam Hurt, and The Hoover Uprights.

Fink appeared earlier this week on WAMU to talk about the albums, and the event. She was joined by Marxer and Seeger. The program can still be heard by downloading the podcast of the Kojo Nnamdi Show on which she appeared. Two performances can also be see on YouTube, here and here.

Here’s some info about the two CDs, from the press release.

Cathy Fink: Old Time Banjo FestivalThis amazing gathering of old time banjo players celebrates two brand new CDs on Rounder Records, both produced by Fink and Marxer. THE OLD TIME BANJO FESTIVAL is a unique anthology featuring twenty-one of today’s finest banjo players. From old traditional tunes and songs to contemporary compositions in many old time styles, each of these players places an original stamp on their banjo sound, showing the breadth and depth of an instrument that traveled from Africa to the southern Appalachian mountains. Players include Mike Seeger, Dan Gellert, Adam Hurt, Rick Good, Bob Carlin, Laura Boosinger, David Holt, , Bruce Molsky, Bob Smakula, Kate Brett, Reed Martin, Mark Schatz, Daniel Koulack, Chris Coole, Arnie Naiman, Leonard Podolak, Gordy Hinners, Paul Brown, Bill Schmidt, Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer. “Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for putting this masterpiece together,” says banjo maverick Tony Trischka.

Cathy Fink: Banjo TalkinThe second CD featured is Fink’s new solo album BANJO TALKIN’, a fresh and innovative collection of original songs and tunes mixed, with insightful interpretations of traditional old time music played on clawhammer banjo with accompaniment on cello banjo, banjo ukulele, fiddle and bluegrass banjo. Cathy Fink follows in the footsteps of the great country music pioneers who found their roots in traditional music while evolving their own sound. Special guests on BANJO TALKIN’ include Tony Trischka, Bruce Molsky, Adam Hurt, Chris Coole, and Jane Rothfield.

UPDATE 7/9: Rounder has just recently osted audio samples for these two CDs online. You can hear snippets from all 31 tracks on Old Time Banjo Festival and 17 on Banjo Talkin’ at