Fresh off the success of his 2007 release, Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular – up for a Grammy Award this weekend – Tony Trischka has another ambitious recording due for release in March.
Despite all the hoopla he generated with the Double Banjo project, this time out Trischka is following a more minimalist approach. There are several cuts on Territory that feature twin banjos, but the bulk of the 21 cuts feature Tony with his band, and a dozen are performed as solo banjo tracks. Other than a few traditional fiddle pieces played in medleys, and a couple of bluegrass standards, the tunes are all Trischka originals.
It’s the stylistic variety that may be the most appealing aspect of this CD, however. Tony has mastered the 5 string banjo as a musical instrument, not purely as a bluegrass picker. He does include a version of Bill Monroe’s Molly and Tennbrooks with his band (Michael Daves, Brittany Haas, Skip Ward), but the album also features him on music that is drawn from Celtic, folk, blues, and old time roots – blended into Trischka’s unique and highly individual style.
Most of the banjo playing is done in 3 finger style, though without picks on one, and in the clawhammer style on another. A number of non-standard tunings are used, indicated in the song notes throughout. Fellow banjoist Bob Carlin contributes both a Short History of the Banjo, and extensive liner notes.
Territory is scheduled for a March 25 release from Smithsonian Folkways. Special guests include Pete Seeger, Bruce Molsky, Bill Evans and Mike Seeger.