Virtuosic ‘Punch Brothers’ banjoist Noam Pikelny returns to Danville for a special solo performance
Published 1:13 pm Wednesday, August 30, 2017
NORTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Norton Center veteran Noam Pikelny makes his Weisiger Theatre debut on Saturday, Sept. 16. Pikelny has emerged as the preeminent banjoist of his generation: a founding member of Punch Brothers, a 3-time Grammy-nominee, and recipient of the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass in 2010.
“Since the Punch Brothers made their Norton Center debut in 2010,” said Steve Hoffman, Norton Center Executive Director. “Individual ‘Brothers’ have returned to share their own music and instrumental gifts. Virtuoso banjoist (yes, that’s a thing) Noam Pikelny is a musician and songwriter not to be reckoned with. His solo concert of original and traditional music will draw from legends like Tim Rice and Bill Monroe, but is all his own.”
His latest album, “Universal Favorite”is the fourth released under his own name, but it’s truly his solo debut. His previous efforts— including 2011’s “Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail”and 2014’s landmark “Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe” — were full-band affairs that revealed his abilities as a dynamic bandleader while reinforcing his reputation as an inventive accompanist. The new release features only the man himself, recorded live in the studio without accompaniment, coaxing a wide array of sounds and colors out of his instruments, embracing the challenges, and exploring the new possibilities of the solo setting. And, for the first time in his career, Pikelny even sings. It turns out he has a striking deadpan baritone that conveys humor and melancholy in equal measure.
This album,Pikelny says, “is the most personal statement I’ve put forward. The setting couldn’t be more stark and I think it lays bare my musical core. Most importantly, it’s an incredibly honest solo album, in that there are honestly no other people on this record other than me.“
His second Norton Center appearance, and Weisiger Theatre debut, will feature original music and explosive covers that showcasePikelny’s unique approach and compositional flair.
IF YOU GO
Noam Pikelny will be in concert 8 p.m. Sept. 16 at Norton Center for the Arts . Tickets, priced at $38 and $28, are available at www.NortonCenter.comor by calling the box office at (859) 236-4692