Third annual Banjo Extravaganza set for next week in Grass Valley |

Third annual Banjo Extravaganza set for next week in Grass Valley

Get ready Grass Valley. Five-string favorites Bill Evans, Tony Furtado and Mark Johnson will lift off with a band of bluegrass all-stars Nov. 13 when the Center for the Arts presents the third annual California Banjo Extravaganza.

The band includes John Reischman on mandolin, Chad Manning on fiddle and Jim Nunally on guitar (David Grisman’s Bluegrass Experience) and Sharon Gilchrist on bass (Peter Rowan/ Tony Rice Quartet, Uncle Earl).

Mark Johnson is the 2012 recipient of the Steve Martin Award for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Johnson revolutionized the art of claw hammer banjo by adapting its techniques and rhythms to the demands of playing in a bluegrass ensemble.

Calling his style “clawgrass,” Johnson has performed with Tony Rice, has appeared with Martin and Kevin Nealon and on Late Night with David Letterman. His CD, “Acoustic Rising” with Emory Lester was nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association for “Instrumental Album of the Year.”

When still a teenager, Northern California native Tony Furtado’s won two National Banjo Championships and performed with Laurie Lewis’ band. Three solo CDs on Rounder Records paired him with Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas and Kelly Joe Phelps. Furtado’s recording of the Beatles’ favorite “I Will” with Kraus has sold millions of copies. Furtado has appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and shared the concert stage with Greg Allman, Derek Trucks and Sonny Landreth. His banjo work fuses traditional and progressive elements, touching on Irish, blues and New Acoustic sounds.

San Francisco Bay Area musician Bill Evans is an internationally recognized banjo force, acclaimed for his playing, teaching and writing. Evans is the author of “Banjo For Dummies,” the most popular banjo instructional book in the world. His 2012 CD, “In Good Company” features 26 guest artists, including Tim O’Brien and the Infamous Stringdusters, and has topped folk and bluegrass charts. Evans has recently appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor, the San Francisco Symphony and a U.S. State Department tour of Russia.

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. show are $22 for members of the Center, $25 for the general public and available at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384 ext. 14, online at or at BriarPatch Co-op.

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