Video: Tony Trischka “Brown’s Ferry Blues” (feat. Billy Strings)

Here’s the delightfully upbeat ‘Brown’s Ferry Blues’ from Tony Trischka, featuring some wonderfully talented players, including Billy Strings.  The song features stunning performances from an all-star band and it’s great to see the musicians at work in the studio.  With Mark Schatz’s bass providing a melodic foundation, the energetic mandolin from Sam Bush and Trischka’s banjo truly soar in this dynamic uplifting song.  Bela Fleck adds more banjo flourishes.  A highlight is the outstanding Michael Cleveland on fiddle – his fast fingers and sliding fiddle-style are absolutely mesmerising.  Over these layers, Billy Strings delivers a timeless, compelling vocal.  Trischka says of the song: “This song was written by Alton and Rabon Delmore and recorded by them in 1933.  I heard Earl play it backstage at a show in Missouri in 2010. He had his banjo tuned to double C— that’s G, C, D, C, D—and as far as I know, he’d never used this tuning on a studio or live recording.  In the various jams with John Hartford that inspired this album, however, he always played it in standard G tuning, which is the setting you’ll hear here.”

This fine song will appear on Trischka’s forthcoming album, ‘Earl Jam: A Tribute to Earl Scruggs’, which will be released on 7th June 2024.  The album celebrates the 100th birthday and the work of the iconic banjo play Earl Scruggs.  One afternoon during the pandemic, Trischka was given a memory stick with rare recordings of Earl Scruggs jamming with John Hartford.  There were over two hundred songs that were recorded during gatherings at Scruggs’ home during the 1980s and 1990s.  It’s an intriguing piece of musical history that inspired Trischka to put together the new album.  Trischka explains the project: “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.”  Brilliant stuff.

About Andrew Frolish 1412 Articles
From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Nils Lofgren, Ferris & Sylvester, Tommy Prine, Jarrod Dickenson, William Prince, Frank Turner, Our Man in the Field...
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David D Harper

As soon as I saw Billy String’s name in the writeup I became very interested, as I consider him to be THE outstanding bluegrass/roots exponent of the younger generation. I’m a Flatts and Scruggs man myself, so any modern proponent of the banjo tradition that duo inaugurated appeals to me. I’ve not heard Trishka’s new album, but if Brown’s Ferry Blues is an example of the territory covered by it, I’ll be looking for it, for sure.