Earl Jam – Tony Trischka

by | 13 Jun, 2024 | 0 comments

Tony Trischka Releases Earl Jam: A Tribute To Earl Scruggs.

With the latest preview of his upcoming album Earl Jam: A Tribute To Earl Scruggs, the father of modern bluegrass, according to New York Times, Tony Trischka, has assembled yet another mind-blowingly talented group of pickers and singers to take on one of the gems of the American songbook, Bury Me Beneath The Willow. The lonesome fiddle double-stops in the song’s intro, well, that’s IBMA and Grammy Award winner Michael Cleveland. The soaring tenor voice taking the lead on the tune’s unforgettable verses,  that’s unmistakably country music icon Vince Gill.

Earl JamBacked up by Trischka’s banjo, Brittany Haas on 2nd fiddle, Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Mike Bub on bass, and Jeff White on harmony vocals, Gill’s voice and powerhouse rhythm guitar drive the tune.

This is the first song the Carter Family recorded for Ralph Peer at the storied Bristol Sessions in 1927. I asked Michael Cleveland to add the song’s slow fiddle intro in a different key. The result is achingly beautiful! – Tony Trischka.

Bury Me Beneath The Willow is the latest single from Trischka’s upcoming project honouring the man himself in what would’ve been his 100th trip around the sun. Earl Jam: A Tribute To Earl Scruggs, which was released on June 7th on the newly-formed Down The Road label, is a collection of reimagined tunes culled from long-lost jams between Scruggs, the late, great John Hartford, and many others.

Listen to Bury Me Beneath The Willow today at this link and don’t forget to check out “Dooley feat. Molly Tuttle” and “Brown’s Ferry Blues feat. Billy Strings”—the first single from Earl Jam which Rolling Stone called a fiery salute to Earl Scruggs – at their respective links. A list of Trischka’s tour dates can be found here.

More About Earl Jam: A Tribute To Earl Scruggs:

When banjo extraordinaire Tony Trischka opened his mail one afternoon during the height of the Covid lockdown, he certainly wasn’t expecting to get a visit from his old pal, the late great Earl Scruggs. Of course, it wasn’t Earl at the door, but a mysterious thumb drive full of rare recordings of Scruggs jamming with John Hartford, mostly taken from private gatherings at Earl’s house during the 80s and 90s. Naturally, Trischka began pouring over the more than 200 songs, transcribing the all-new solos, tones, and tricks from the man he’d been studying for over half a century. Inspired, he featured a number of these pieces as part of an overview of Earl’s career, premiering the concept at the venerable Joe’s Pub in New York City. When Down The Road’s Ken Irwin heard a recording of the show, he and Trischka agreed there should be an album of this unique material.

Trischka couldn’t wait to get his friends and colleagues together to flesh out this new material in the studio, and it wasn’t long before Earl Jam: A Tribute To Earl Scruggs came to be.

Whether or not you’re a banjo player, if you play bluegrass, you’re influenced by Earl. So it was easy to get world-class players on board – Tony Trischka.

Names like Stuart Duncan, Ronnie McCoury, and Darol Anger fill the album liner notes next to those of Molly Tuttle, Brittany Haas, Dominick Leslie, and Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, creating a cross-generational, genre-spanning band of, let’s face it, a heaping of the best pickers alive today

Catch Tony Trischka’s Earl Jam On Tour:
Apr. 20 – Rock Hall, MD – The Mainstay
May 3 – Boothbay Harbor, ME – The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor
May 4 – Groton, MA – Groton Hill Music Center
June 7 – Amherst, MA – The Drake
June 8 – Cambridge, MA – Club Passim
June 13 – New York, NY – Joe’s Pub
June 16 – Palisade, CO – Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Festival
July 20 – Oak Hill, NY – GREYFOX Bluegrass Festival
June 28 – Old Saybrook, CT – The Kate
June 29 – Great Barrington, MA – The Guthrie Center
June 30 – Bethlehem, PA – Godfrey Daniels
Aug. 30 – Brunswick, ME – Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival
Aug. 31 – Clarendon, VT – Kingsley Grist Mill National Historic Site
Sept 7 – Remus, MI – Wheatlands Music and Arts Festival
Sept. 21 – Louisville, KY – Bourbon & Beyond Festival
October 5 – San Francisco CA – Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
October 12 – Big Stone Gap, VA – Blue Highway Festival


Earl Jam is available here.

Watch Tony Trischka, Molly Tuttle and Sam Bush Doolley: on Youtube.

About Tony Trischka:

Tony Trischka has over the past half-century garnered a reputation as one of the most influential figures in roots music. “[I]n fiddle- and fret-conscious circles from Nashville to Groton, Massachusetts, [Trischka] is known as the father of modern bluegrass,” wrote the New York Times. As a banjoist he set new standards for genre-bending virtuosity, inspiring legions of younger players, among them Béla Fleck. Through his tireless efforts as an educator and such divergent projects as his collaborations with his friend and fellow banjoist Steve Martin, and the visionary exploration of Civil War history on his recent album, Shall We Hope he’s helped to elevate and transform his chosen instrument’s profile within American culture.

Born in 1949 in Syracuse and raised in a home filled with music, he fell in love with the banjo through the Kingston Trio’s 1959 recording of “M.T.A.” Trischka moved to New York City in the early ’70s and released his landmark solo debut, Bluegrass Light, on the Rounder label in 1974, synthesizing everything from bluegrass and country to psychedelic pop, modal and free jazz and fusion. Many other milestone albums followed, including 1983’s A Robot Plane Flies Over Arkansas, which refined the eclecticism of Bluegrass Light; and 1993’s World Turning, a global history of the banjo that ignited Marc Fields’ comprehensive 2011 documentary, Give Me the Banjo, which Steve Martin narrated and for which Trischka served as musical director and co-producer.

Trischka’s Grammy-nominated album Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, released in 2007, and Great Big World, from 2014, feature a mix of veterans and up-and-coming luminaries. He produced Martin’s Grammy-nominated Rounder album from 2011, Rare Bird Alert, which touts performances by the Steep Canyon Rangers, Paul McCartney, and the Chicks. Through his theme song for Books on the Air and performances on A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, From Our Front Porch, and other programs, Trischka has been a frequent presence on NPR. In addition to his Grammy nominations, he’s earned numerous honors, including the International Bluegrass Music Award for Banjo Player of the Year, as well as being named a United States Artists Friends Fellow.

About Down The Road: Exceleration Music, the prominent global independent music company dedicated to advancing the future of independent music, has announced a strategic partnership with the pioneering founders of Rounder Records – widely considered one of the premiere American indie labels of the past 50 years – on their new venture Down The Road.

The strategic partnership brings together the expertise of the original leadership team who founded Rounder Records in 1970 – Ken Irwin, Marian Leighton Levy, and Bill Nowlin, as well as the label’s first and long-standing President/CEO, John Virant – with Exceleration Music’s partners and leadership team. Irwin, Levy, Nowlin, and Virant led Rounder Records together for 40 years, steering their roster to over 40 Grammy wins during that time. The label was responsible for a broad range of genre-defining releases across many musical styles.


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