The latest release from Patuxent Music, The Patuxent Banjo Project (Patuxent CD 250), has a very interesting aspect in that it brings together 40 regional banjo players to showcase their talents. However, these pickers are from the bluegrass-rich Greater Washington, DC – Baltimore, Maryland, area that from the early 1950s, hosted pickers and singers that had a tremendous impact on the history of bluegrass music worldwide.
This monumental project was piloted by producers Mark Delaney and Randy Barrett, both noted players in their own right, who have assembled the likes of Bill Emerson, Eddie Adcock, Walter Hensley, Pete Kuykendall, Roni Stoneman, Chris Warner, Tom Adams, Dick Smith and Murphy Henry from the top strata.
Only slightly less known names include Ira Gitlin, Fred Geiger, Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer, Kevin Church, Mark Schatz, Bill Runkle, David McLaughlin, Mark Delaney, Stephen Wade, Joe Zauner, Keith Arneson and Tim Kruzic.
While not yet of international repute are Joe Herrman, Gina Clowes, Bill Blackburn, John Brunschwyler, Brennen Ernst, Reed Martin and Marc Bolen.
Just a quick glance at these names will reveal a great depth of styles showcased within this collection. Not only are there variations of three-finger banjo playing, old-time, there are two banjo/fiddle duets, a classical piece and a couple of twin banjo numbers, one of which features cello-banjo. All of which adds up to a major audio documentation of a versatile instrument.
Look out for a detailed review of this 2-CD set, coming shortly.