Seventh Annual California Banjo Extravaganza brings banjo and bluegrass all-stars to The Palms on Friday, November 9

Bill Evans, Ned Luberecki and Chris Coole will headline the Seventh Annual California Banjo Extravaganza at The Palms Playhouse (13 Main Street in Winters) on Friday, Nov. 9 backed by Jim Nunally, John Reischman, Sharon Gilchrist and Chad Manning. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $25.

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Move over, “Dueling Banjos,” and make way for the Seventh Annual California Banjo Extravaganza. This year’s line-up features reigning Banjo Player of the Year Ned Luberecki, Bill Evans and Chris Coole on five-string banjo, supported by an all-star backing band of John Reischman on mandolin, Jim Nunally on guitar, Chad Manning on fiddle and Sharon Gilchrist on bass and mandolin.   This year’s edition of the Banjo Extravaganza will be at The Palms Playhouse on Friday, Nov. 9 starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. The show is the brainchild of Bay Area-based banjoist Bill Evans and stems from his desire to showcase banjo music and 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 and is 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. Ned Luberecki knows his way around that driving sound, which he deploys with the award-winning Becky Buller Band and previously as a member of Chris Jones and the Night Drivers. But the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2018 Banjo Player of the Year also gets excited about jazz – his 2017 release features a cover of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” as the title track in the eclectic offerings – and Van Halen. Luberecki cites Steve Martin’s comedy records as sparking his interest in banjo, bluegrass and radio. He combines all three enthusiasms as a DJ for several shows on Sirius FM’s Bluegrass Junction. He’s also a natural wit whose humor shows in his broadcasts, performances and in his work as the voice of the IBMA’s awards ceremonies. Steve Martin described “Take Five” as “an absolutely joyous, riveting, beautifully syncopated example of the beauty of the banjo.” Unlike Scruggs-style banjo, clawhammer playing emphasizes rhythm over melody and is a mainstay of old-time music. Toronto’s Chris Coole is one of its foremost practitioners. Coole draws inspiration from music far south of his native Canada, blending Appalachian traditional songs and tunes with original pieces in an old-time country style. His playing is by turns spritely and wistful, and he has collaborated on over two hundred albums by the likes of Sylvia Tyson (of Ian & Sylvia), Natalie MacMaster, Wailin’ Jennys founder Cara Luft, John Reischman and April Verch. He tours with his trio The Lonesome Ace Stringband, and also performs with The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Erynn Marshall and Dobroist Ivan Rosenberg. fRoots magazine described Coole’s 2016 album “The Tumbling River” as “unassumingly excellent old-time country music.” His latest release is “The Road To The River: A Collection of Tunes and Songs Inspired by the Fishing Passion.” Mandolinist John Reischman (Tony Rice Unit, Good Ol’ Persons, John Reischman & The Jaybirds), guitarist Jim Nunally (David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, John Reischman & The Jaybirds, The Nell & Jim Band), bassist and mandolinist Sharon Gilchrist (Peter Rowan & Tony Rice Quartet, Uncle Earl) and fiddler Chad Manning (David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands) will complete the line-up. Deering Banjos, Homespun Tapes, Banjo Boy Coffee and Peghead Nation sponsor the California Banjo Extravaganza. 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,,,,, and]]>

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