Mike Munford, the mega-talented banjo picker with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, will grace the September cover of Banjo NewsLetter. The issue will also feature an in-depth interview with Mike conducted by regular BNL contributor Ira Gitlin, a highly-regarded picker in his own right.
With the increased visibility Solivan’s group is currently receiving, Munford is finally gaining the recognition he has long deserved. Close followers of the banjo world have been aware of Mike’s high level of skill and creativity for more than a decade, though staying close to his Baltimore home to properly ride herd on a large base of regular students had kept him away from the limelight. He did tour with the Mark Newton Band previously, and has been the go-to sideman or fill-in for dates near Washington, DC for some time.
Those of us who have been in the Munford fan club for years are only too pleased to see a wider segment of the bluegrass and banjo audience discover his musicianship.
As Gitlin describes him for Banjo NewsLetter…
“The first thing that hits you when you hear Mike is his confident attack and big flathead tone. Next you might notice how thoroughly he integrates straight-ahead Scruggs playing and sprawling melodic passages. Listen a little further, and you can’t help but be struck by the catchy, unexpected rhythmic twists that pepper his phrases. Even at the stiffest tempos, this is all delivered in a seemingly effortless improvisational flow that one listener has likened to Zen meditation. Yet this dazzling soloist is also a real team player who excels at creative and tasteful backup and has a flair for slow songs. And though Mike emphatically denies it, he seems to know every tune: old songs, new songs, banjo tunes, fiddle tunes, jazz standards—everything.”
In addition to being a first rate player and a fine instructor, Mike is also a knowledgeable and experience banjo luthier, with a long list of satisfied customers. He discusses all these aspects of his music career in the September BNL, which should be arriving in subscribers’ mailboxes shortly.