Alison Brown Band

  • Dates: September 29, 2018
  • Venue: Plaza Stage
  • Location: Downtown Raleigh
  • Address: 400 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601
  • Times: 9:30 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Admission: Free


Alison Brown is a GRAMMY Award-winning, ground-breaking musician, composer, producer, and entrepreneur. She was the first woman to earn an IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Award, and she is also the first woman to receive ANY IBMA instrumentalist award. She has earned several other awards since then, including an IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2015. Today she is acclaimed as one of the finest progressive banjo players, but you rarely find her in a conventional bluegrass setting. Instead, she is known for leading an ensemble that combines a broad array of roots-influenced music, including folk, jazz, Celtic and Latin; as well as for co-founding Compass Records, one of the most respected bluegrass, folk, Celtic and Americana record labels. Her newest album, The Song of the Banjo, will have you hearing the banjo in a whole new way. As one might expect from a Harvard-educated MBA, the title of Brown's first album since 2009 was carefully considered. It comes from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, but she says the reason she chose it was that, “It points to the lyrical side of the banjo, which is the side I’m drawn to.” Although banjos typically play “tunes” or “breakdowns,” in Brown’s hands, the banjo truly sings. Part of that is the result of the modifications she’s made to her signature model Prucha 5-string, muting the usual harsher overtones and extraneous noises, emphasizing the sweetness and melodicism. But mostly, it’s her unique musical vision. Brown never wastes a note, never launching into banjo tsunamis just because she can; stopping her precision three-finger roll to leave space for a lyric or other instrumental voice when appropriate. Don’t mistake it, there is plenty of jaw-dropping virtuosity on The Song of the Banjo, but it's always in service to the melody at hand. Brown always plays the words as well as the melody. On The Song of the Banjo, Brown expertly reaches into the past as she looks to the future, creating an album for people who didn’t know how much they liked the banjo, while giving banjo fans new reasons to love the instrument.