2021 Susquehanna Folk Festival Bruce Molsky & Tony Trischka
Sunday, August 29, 2021
at Fishing Creek Salem UMC
Banjo Workshop 3:30 pm - 5 pm with Tony Trischka
Bluegrass/Old-Time Jam 5 pm - 6:30 pm with Todd Clewell & Barb Schmid
Concert 7 pm in the Sanctuary
About This Event:
"Banjo liberationist" Tony Trischka and Appalachian old-time fiddle virtuoso Bruce Molsky marry tradition and innovation in a day of acoustic fun — live in person!
"Banjo liberationist" Tony Trischka and Appalachian old-time fiddle virtuoso Bruce Molsky marry tradition and innovation in a day of acoustic fun — live in person! We've hosted both of these gentlemen before, separately and together, and we're delighted to have them back as one of the headline acts of our 2021 festival. See notes below about the venue, seating, and staying safe.
Bruce Molsky is a revered ambassador for Appalachian and old-time music. His authentic feel for the repertoire transports audiences to another time and place. His collaborations range from classic old-time fiddling to Andy Irvine's world fusion ensemble Mozaik. He's toured from Appalachia to Australia and garnered two Grammy nominations. MORE ABOUT BRUCE
Tony Trischka is a founding father of progressive bluegrass. Over his long career he has up-ended all previous notions of what a banjo is for. He has inspired and supported musicians from monster banjo innovator Béla Fleck to Steve Martin, the banjo’s unofficial celebrity ambassador. MORE ABOUT TONY
Afternoon Banjo Workshop
Tony will present a workshop at 3:30 pm, which may be interesting even to folks who do not play the banjo (yet). The workshop will be in the church's very roomy lobby. WORKSHOP DETAILS
Todd Clewell & Barb Schmid will lead an old-time & bluegrass jam session in late afternoon. This will also be in the church lobby. Listeners are welcome.
We are so pleased that it's possible to gather for live music again! This concert will be in the church sanctuary, which is large enough to allow social distancing. IMPORTANT NOTES BELOW
3:30 pm with Tony Trischka
Space is limited for this in-person workshop, so register early! Folding chairs are available, or bring your own.
The workshop will cover the essential elements that make up a “professional” sound on the banjo such as good timing, clarity of notes, tone, and so forth.
Tony will then talk about Earl Scruggs, his style and the subtleties thereof. He’ll also touch on the concept of playing the syllables of a song on the banjo, wherein you’re not “sort of” playing the melody of a tune, but are actually replicating the syllabic phrasing of a song. This is helpful for spicing up tunes you already play as well as helping you get comfortable playing melodies in different keys as well as up the neck.
If time allows he’ll describe melodic style and its basis in scales rather than chords.
ABOUT TONY TRISCHKA
Early in 2019, the banjo virtuoso, songwriter and educator Tony Trischka celebrated his 70th birthday with a surprise party at the Public Theater, in Lower Manhattan, a reasonable jaunt from his home in New Jersey. Naturally for an artist NPR has referred to as “the great banjo liberationist,” the well-wishers included musicians like Béla Fleck, the premier banjoist to emerge in the past four decades, and the comic genius Steve Martin, the banjo’s unofficial celebrity ambassador, whom Trischka calls “a wonderful player.”
At center of the fête — including, all told, “about 80 people I love,” says Trischka — was an unassumingly brilliant, kindhearted fellow who just happens to stand among the most influential figures in American roots music. Or, as the New York Times wrote in 2006, “[I]n fiddle- and fret-conscious circles from Nashville to Groton, Mass. ... [Trischka] is known as the father of modern bluegrass.”
Trischka fell in love with the banjo by way of the Kingston Trio’s 1963 recording of “M.T.A.,” and was able to experience the New York-centered folk revival by trekking to the Newport Folk Festival in the early to mid-’60s. He moved to the city in the early ’70s and hit the ground running, settling in among a peer group of extraordinary musicians who saw American roots music as a thriving, living language that could be expanded and combined with other influences and sensibilities.
Alongside other young masters like mandolinist Andy Statman and fiddler Kenny Kosek, in such units as Country Cooking and Breakfast Special, Trischka found his purpose. Jaw-dropping musicianship was certainly encouraged, as was comic and literary irreverence, earnest songwriting and a record shop’s worth of touchstones beyond bluegrass, from the avant-garde to fusion and R&B.
Through his long career he’s raised the banjo’s profile in many other ways. Through his theme song for Books on the Air and performances on A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, From Our Front Porch and other programs, he’s been a frequent presence on NPR. His work with his pal Steve Martin too has helped the banjo gain a wider audience and deeper understanding. Trischka’s Grammy-nominated album Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, released in 2007, and Great Big World, from 2014, feature Martin within 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 Dixie Chicks. His forthcoming album, Shall We Hope, is a visionary exploration of Civil War history featuring an all-star cast — from Michael Daves and Maura O’Connell to the Femmes, Catherine Russell, Guy Davis, the actor John Lithgow and many others.
In many ways, Trischka’s collaborators join him to pay homage to an architect of progressive bluegrass — an invaluable pioneer who absorbed the slings and arrows of roots traditionalists and proved that acoustic music could accommodate imagination and individualism.
ABOUT BRUCE MOLSKY
"It is no exaggeration to say that Bruce Molsky is one of the greatest American fiddlers of all time. His playing is mesmerizing and transporting, and best experienced live" — WBUR (Boston NPR)
"An incredible power of history and tradition in his vocal" — Linda Ronstadt
Bruce Molsky is one of the most revered ambassadors for America’s old-time mountain music. For decades, he’s been a globetrotting performer and educator, a recording artist with an expansive discography including seven solo albums, well over a dozen collaborations and two Grammy-nominations. Molsky digs deep to transport audiences to another time and place, with his authentic feel for and the unearthing of almost-forgotten rarities from the Southern Appalachian songbook. His foils are not only his well-regarded fiddle work, but banjo, guitar and his distinctly resonant vocals. From tiny folk taverns in the British Isles to huge festival stages to his ongoing workshops at the renowned Berklee College of Music, Molsky seduces audiences with a combination of rhythmic and melodic virtuosity and relaxed conversational wit — a uniquely humanistic, downhome approach that can make Carnegie Hall feel like a front porch or parlor jam session.
Molsky’s recording career has been plentiful since his debut session banjoist with Bob Carlin in 1990, with nearly two dozen releases available via Rounder and Compass Records and his own Tree Frog Music. His discography includes seven solo albums, from his debut of fiddlers’ classics, “Warring Cats,” to his most recent, “If It Ain’t Here When I Get Back,” an “aural autobiography” paying tribute to the musicians who have shaped his musical life and his travels from Appalachia to Australia. There’s also the Grammy-nominated “Fiddlers 4,” with Darol Anger, Michael Doucet and cellist Rushad Eggleston, the debut of the world fusion ensemble Mozaik with Andy Irvine, and contributions to legendary guitarist Mark Knopfler’s “Tracker” and the Billboard chart-topping Anonymous 4 release, “1865 – Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War.”
Bruce’s live and recorded work has not only drawn raves from his fellow musicians but the media. No Depression calls Molsky “an absolute master,” while Mother Jones calls him “easily one of the nation’s most talented fiddlers... he transports you, geographically, historically and most of all emotionally." NPR says “his playing is mesmerizing, transporting and best experienced live,”
ABOUT THE VENUE
Salem Fishing Creek United Methodist Church in Goldsboro, PA (just south of Harrisburg) is a lovely, roomy venue, large enough to allow social distancing. It is handicapped accessible.
Those wishing to come early can bring a picnic dinner and listen to the jam session; there are tables in the lobby. No alcohol is allowed on church grounds.
Folks with pandemic-related safety concerns can choose to sit in family units and/or wear masks if desired. To reduce the need for event-goers to congregate, admission donations will be accepted online only and not at the event site.