Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

EYBM #3: Pioneers - Modern Day

Inspired by @Mike_Adam and his excellent post regarding awesome Mandolin players…

post #32

We all recognize that EARL was the MAN when it comes to Banjo.

I raise the question: Who are your Modern Day Pioneers (or older but lesser known players) who are reshaping or evolving the way Banjo is played?

Don’t just throw names… but describe how or why you admire them! Was it a technique or specific sound? A signature lick? Maybe the STYLE of what or how the Banjo fits into a traditional or non-traditional ensamble.

One such player that comes to MY mind is Dave Carroll from Trampled By Turtles.

I just think he has such a unique style and sound. I think he uses a “flat-pick” or… Plectrum versus 3-finger Scruggs.

I had also heard he is very modest and even embarrassed or uncomfortable when asked about his style.

Needless to say, I think it really works great and molded his style into - well… one heck-of-a player… and even a Pioneer.

Not comparing ANYONE to Mr. Scruggs, but makes me wonder just how many people early in Earl’s career thought his 3-finger approach would never work out.

When I say this… I mean the time AFTER Earl’s self-realizing experience- of his unique approach (after daydreaming) - as a young boy but before he got hired by Bill Monroe.

He was obviously a Banjo Master by that point.

Can’t get anyone to bite on this…?

I’ll bite :grimacing:

I think there are tons of talented players out there like Noam, etc., but I’m not drawn to them. One famous picker that just “does it” for me is Sammy Shelor. His genius becomes apparent when you really study him and transcribe his solos. Perhaps we’ll do that one evening here on the site.

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That analysis is very exciting and worthy of waiting, Ben. For me… I hope you indulge to discuss and explore the theory side a bit… and what YOU find to be genius in that presentation. When you bring your obvious enthusiasm and positive energy, I feel the inspiration… how you like what you do!

Ben, I sense your strong ties to traditional styles and gospel/praise but do you like any “prog” or Jam Bands? Maybe GSBG, Trampled by Turtles… Rare Earth… ?

I have also been curious with your Texas ties… any Texas bands or styles to suggest? I recently got the latest CD from the Old 97s (a Texas Band, I think)… I heard on an Americana playlist.I know it it is NOT Bluegrass… but that gritty roots rock is infectious.

I watched a few videos of Sammy… and what strikes me is the ultra clean technique… it sounds soooo exact… but at ANY speed!

I’ve always enjoyed Lawrence Diehl. don’t know how much of a pioneer he is in other’s eyes, but he writes and plays some things that hit me different than stuff I’ve heard before.

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