Tony Trischka’s Tribute To Earl Scruggs

Tony Trischka Earl Scruggs Homage

Tony Trischka

‘Earl Jam’

Lost Earl Scruggs Jams

Banjo player extraordinaire Tony Trischka received a mysterious thumb drive of rare recordings of his friend, the late master Earl Scruggs jamming with John Hartford, mostly taken from private gatherings at Scrugg’s house during the 1980’s and 1990’s. 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 some pieces as part of his live show, which was well received. 

It wasn’t long before Trischka assembled some friends for the recording of Earl Jam: A Tribute To Earl Scruggs, to be released later this year via Down The Road. “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,” says 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 A-list players.

Trischka has just shared “Brown’s Ferry Blues”, the opening track of Earl Jam and the only tune on the album to feature another banjo player: Bela Fleck. This number, produced by Fleck at Parlor Studios in Nashville, not only gets two banjo breaks, but the steady bass thump of Mark Schatz, Sam Bush’s legendary mandolin support, show-stopper Michael Cleveland on fiddle and current bluegrass champion Billy Strings on lead vocals and guitar.

Earl Jam Tracklisting: 

Side One 

1. Brown’s Ferry Blues (feat. Billy Strings)

2. San Antonio Rose 

3. Chinese Breakdown 

4. My Horses Ain’t Hungry 

5. Roll On Buddy 

6. Freight Train Blues 

7. Casey Jones 

Side Two

1.  Dooley (feat. Molly Tuttle)

2. Cripple Creek 

3. Amazing Grace 

4. Lady Madonna 

5. Bury Me Beneath the Willow (feat. Vince Gill)

6. Shout Little Lulu

7. Little Liza Jane  

8. Amazing Grace – Postlude 

About Tony Trischka: Tony Trischka was born in 1949 in Syracuse and raised in a home filled with music. Trischka moved to New York City in the early 1970’s and released his landmark solo debut Bluegrass Light, on the Rounder Records 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. In addition to his Grammy nominations, he’s earned numerous honours, including the International Bluegrass Music Award for Banjo Player of the Year, as well as being named a United States Artists Friends Fellow.  

Earl Scruggs Centre, Shelby, North Carolina – Photo: LTTL



More Music Adventures Await!

Tony Trischka Earl Scruggs Homage


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Author: Rob Dickens

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