Three of the world’s best banjo players — Bill Evans, Sammy Shelor and Tony Trischka — will come together under one roof during the second annual California Banjo Extravaganza Thursday (Nov. 14) presented by the Center for the Arts.
Tony Trishka is considered one of the most influential banjo players in the roots music world. The New York Times has dubbed him “the godfather of what’s sometimes called new acoustic music.” Billboard Magazine called him “one of the most impressive banjoists alive,” and the Banjo Newsletter declared him the “most influential banjo player of the latter part of the 20th century.”
Trishka has won several IBMA awards and an Independent Music Award and earned a Grammy Award nomination. In addition to recording 30 albums, Trishka worked on a number of films and documentaries, including “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Give Me the Banjo.” He has appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion,” “Mountain Stage” and “Late Night with David Letterman,” launched the online Tony Trischka School of Banjo and published two books.
Sammy Shelor is a five-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s award for Banjo Performer of the Year and the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. He leads the 30-year-old Lonesome River Band.
When he was 4 years old, Sammy Shelor’s grandfather gave him a banjo fashioned from the lid of an old pressure cooker, and after learning his first two songs, he moved on to a real banjo. By age 10, he was performing in local bands in and around his hometown of Meadows of Dan, Va. At 19, he joined a band that would become the Virginia Squires, under the influence of banjo legend Sonny Osborne. An innovator his entire career, Shelor’s original licks and phrases are known among many banjo aficionados.
Five-string favorite Bill Evans is also an author, and his “Banjo for Dummies” is the best-selling banjo instructional book in the world. Evans’ latest album, “In Good Company,” topped international folk and bluegrass charts and made numerous “Best of 2012” lists. In addition to co-hosting the popular All-Star Bangers & Grass monthly concerts in Kensington, Evans has recently played with Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman, David Bromberg, the Hard Road Trio and the Jazzschool Bluegrass Ensemble, which he directs.
Joining this amazing trio is an equally stellar backup band of all-stars: John Reischman on mandolin, Chad Manning on fiddle and Jim Nunally on guitar (both from David Grisman’s Bluegrass Experience) and Sharon Gilchrist on bass (Peter Rowan/Tony Rice Quartet, Uncle Earl).