By KATE LADDISH Entertainment correspondent Move over, “Dueling Banjos,” and make way for the Eighth Annual California Banjo Extravaganza. This year’s line-up features Bill Evans, Leroy Troy and Gina Furtado on five-string banjo, supported by an all-star backing band of John Reischman on mandolin, Chad Manning on fiddle, Dale Adkins on guitar and Sharon Gilchrist on bass. This year’s edition of the Banjo Extravaganza will be at The Palms Playhouse on Friday, November 8 starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $29 at the door, or $12 with student ID. The show is the brainchild of Bay Area- and New Mexico-based banjoist Bill Evans and stems from his desire to showcase leading banjoists and foster collaboration. To this end, Evans brings a new group of banjoists together each year to perform with a specially created backing band for a string of concerts. Evans’ talent for collaboration is matched by his skills as a player. He’s a dynamic musician, unafraid to blend traditional and progressive bluegrass with dashes of jazz, classical and world music. Evans’ playing also reflects his enthusiastic exploration of the history of the banjo in America and its African roots. His latest release is “Songs That Are Mostly Older Than Us,” recorded with the late Chattanooga fiddler Fletcher Bright and Norman and Nancy Blake. When people think of bluegrass banjo, they’re thinking of a sound pioneered by Earl Scruggs. Winchester, Va.-based Gina Furtado plays that energetic, driving style as a solo artist and leading the Gina Furtado Project, and previously as a member of Chris Jones and the Night Drivers. Furtado was nominated for International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019. She got her start performing with her family’s band along the East Coast while still a “tween,” winning ribbons at fiddle contests. Furtado’s 2017 debut solo CD, “True Colors,” put her on the map as a dexterous instrumentalist and landed two #1 songs on the Bluegrass Today charts. The Gina Furtado Project’s 2019 release, “I Hope You Have a Good Life,” showcases her as a singer and songwriter with a knack for catchy melodies in multiple styles. Unlike Scruggs-style banjo, clawhammer playing, also known as frailing, emphasizes rhythm over melody and is a mainstay of old-time music. Leroy Troy, who won the National Old-Time Banjo Championship in 1996, plays this style. Hailing from Goodlettsville, Tenn., Troy takes his cue from early Grand Ole Opry star Uncle Dave Macon, and his mentors include country legend Roy Acuff, the Bailes Brothers and Uncle Dave’s mentee Cordell Kemp. According to Marty Stuart, “Leroy Troy is an American treasure, a musical wizard.” Stuart would know, as Troy played in Stuart’s band. He’s known internationally from his appearances on television’s “The Marty Stuart Show,” “Hee Haw,” “Ousiders Inn” and multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. “The Tennessee Slicker” performs solo, with his trio and with Nashville’s Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Troy’s performances combine lively and often humorous old-time songs with banjo acrobatics and flat-foot dancing. Evans noted, “Banjos will be thrown in the air during a Leroy Troy performance!” The All-Star Band is mandolinist John Reischman (Tony Rice Unit, Good Ol’ Persons, John Reischman & The Jaybirds), fiddler Chad Manning (David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands), guitarist Dale Adkins (Kate MacKenzie, Dan Crary) and bassist Sharon Gilchrist (Peter Rowan & Tony Rice Quartet, Uncle Earl). Each banjoist will be featured individually backed by the All-Star Band, and also team up with the others for multi-banjo songs. Tickets are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online via The Palms’ website and Eventbrite and at the door if not sold out. For more information, visit palmsplayhouse.com, billevansbanjo.com, leroytroy.us, ginaclowesbanjo.com, johnreischman.com, chadmanning.com, daleadkins.com and sharongilchristmusic.com. Banjoist Bill Evans plays his instrumental “The Distance Between Two Points” with the California Banjo Extravaganza’s all-star backing band. https://youtu.be/w5e2R4w7npE Leroy Troy plays “Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy” on the Marty Stuart Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBOmjJkiEgI Gina Furtado performs “Saylor’s Creek” with the Gina Furtado Project https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4IbKhZpstM]]>
Eighth Annual California Banjo Extravaganza brings banjo and bluegrass all-stars to The Palms on Friday, November 8
This year’s edition of the Banjo Extravaganza will be at The Palms Playhouse on Friday, November 8 starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $29 at the door, or $12 with student ID.