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Banjo Maestro Ned Luberecki’s Take Five OUT TODAY, March 31, 2017

Featuring Guest Musicians:
Dale Ann Bradley, Becky Buller, Amanda Smith, Missy Raines, Mike Compton, David Grier, Jeremy Garrett, Shad Cobb, Stephen Mougin, and Chris Jones & The Night Drivers


Buy it on iTunes, Amazon, cdbaby or directly from Ned at www.nedski.com/take-five

 Ned Luberecki’s new album, Take Five, is independently released TODAY, March 31, 2017. A master of his instrument and adept in multiple styles Ned recorded at The Rec Room, Ben Surratt’s studio in East Nashville this self produced, the 14-track album is a mix of originals and covers and clocks in at just under 45 minutes.

Take Five is a reflection of Ned’s musical diversity, presenting fiddle and banjo tunes, instrumentals, and traditional bluegrass interspersed with jazz standards, classic Buck Owens, and even the theme to Star Trek. Many of Ned’s musical friends from all walks of bluegrass make appearances, making Take Five a sort of retrospective, reminding us that however we know Ned Luberecki – sideman, teacher, on-air radio personality – that he is respected as both a traditional and progressive player with a style perfectly his own – a harlequin combination of the diverse artists, musicians, and genres he’s ingested.

Take Five is stacked with a remarkable lineup of guest musicians including Missy Raines and the New Hip, Jeremy Garrett of The Infamous Stringdusters, Becky Buller, The Helen Highwater Stringband (Mike Compton, David Grier, Missy Raines, and Shad Cobb), Chris Jones and The Night Drivers, Dale Ann Bradley, and Amanda Smith. Also appearing on the album, Stephen Mougin, guitarist of Sam Bush Band and the other half of Nedski & Mojo, calls it “a sonic glimpse inside the mind of Nedski [that] showcases Ned’s brilliant banjo skills in a diverse range of material, from old-time to bluegrass to jazz and beyond. Way beyond!”

take-five-coverWhat Folks are Saying about Take Five

“An absolutely joyous, riveting, beautifully syncopated example of the beauty of the banjo.  From the traditional to the unexpected, the banjo sings.” —Steve Martin (Actor, banjo player)

“Taken as a whole, Take Five demonstrates Luberecki’s mastery of the five-string. From the opening notes of his own tune, Night Driver to the familiar phrasings of Thelonious Monk’s Blue Monk, Luberecki is making a strong case for IBMA banjo player of the year.” —Bluegrass Today, David Morris   

“Journeying across times and genres on this disc, Luberecki’s impeccable playing, adventurous spirit and irrepressible good humor shine throughout.” —International Bluegrass (IBMA Magazine)

“Ned Luberecki is a true ‘master of the five’! This solo recording is a testimony to the incredible breadth of his playing, which I have always admired.”  —Greg Cahill (Special Consensus, former IBMA Chairman)

“His playing oozes with personality and character, and this record perfectly encapsulates that. It’s 100% Ned, and I, for one, am not afraid! Ned’s tunes are a joy to hear and his playing is better than ever.” —Noam Pikelny

“If you were introducing someone to the beauty and versatility of the banjo using 2017 releases, there’s only one choice that can accomplish that goal perfectly, Ned Luberecki’s Take Five. From bluegrass to jazz and from progressive to old-time, this album shows what the banjo is capable of. And just as importantly, it shows that tradition and a fresh energetic approach are still an easy pairing in the bluegrass world.” —Lonesome Banjo Chronicles, Brian Swenk

“‘Adams County Breakdown’ is a rollicking freight train from the other end of the spectrum, a triumph of the five-string banjo that cements Luberecki as a world-class musician.” –Grateful Web, Emerson Kerwin

“… the cover artwork for this CD reminds me of the artwork for Time Out, the 1959 Dave Brubeck Quartet album to feature ‘Take Five.’ I could listen to this track for hours, just as I could spend hours listening to Dave Brubeck’s rendition (and have done, actually).” —Michael Doherty

“… the interplay between the fiddle and banjo is hypnotic (See ‘Cleveland Park’). Finally, and most importantly, the album is as varied as possible.” —Wine Compass, Todd Godbout

“Bluegrass, on it’s own, is a fun genre of folk music to get into, but with the humor and other genre infusions Luberecki brings here, it wouldn’t surprise at all if he made a few more fans along the way.” —NYS Music, Rob Creenan

“The backing musicians, compositions, and production are all at the highest levels here and Ned has done himself proud with this widely varied and irresistible project.” —Tony Trischka

“With skill, tone, and taste he comfortably transverses styles of bluegrass, jazz, celtic and more making this a seamless and satisfying set of music.” —Missy Raines (7 Time IBMA Bass Player of the Year, Missy Raines & The New Hip)

“… a full course five-string feast, with savory bluegrass, tasty fiddle tunes, tangy jazz and more. It’s all presented with sumptuous tone, timing that’s just right and a dash of Ned’s irrepressible humor. This is state-of-the-art five-string banjo, cooked up with virtuosity and creativity,” —Bill Evans (banjo player, banjo instructor, and author)

“Ned Luberecki is surely among the most talented and creative artists we have in bluegrass music. It doesn’t matter if he is driving the banjo right through the Becky Buller Band, sharing clever stories from the stage, or hosting one of his programs on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction, Ned’s wit and wisdom always shine through… ” —Bluegrass Today, John Lawless

Listen to Bluegrass Today “Night Driver” at Bluegrass Today → www.bluegrasstoday.com/nightdriver-from-ned-luberecki

Listen to  “Higher Ground” at The Bluegrass Situation →  www.thebluegrasssituation.com/read/listen-ned-luberecki-higher-ground

For more information, please visit www.nedski.com, www.facebook.com/MoreBanjo, Twitter: @NedLuberecki, and Instagram: nedluberecki

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Danny Barnes. Photo by Jame Curtis.

Danny Barnes. Photo by Jame Curtis.

Danny Barnes Wins Sixth Annual Steve Martin Prize For Excellence In Banjo And Bluegrass,
Set to Release Got Myself Together November 2015 Through Eight 30 Records

“As if dedicating your life to an instrument like the banjo wasn’t sufficiently avant-garde, the winner of this year’s Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass is a musician recognized for his experimental approach to that seemingly quaint stringed instrument.”
The New York Times, Dave Itzkoff

“Saying that Danny Barnes plays the banjo is like saying Lionel Messi kicks a soccer ball. Barnes doesn’t just play the banjo—he plucks it, thrums it, claws it, bashes it, runs it through processors, plays it backward, drenches it in reverb, and layers it over computerized drums, distorted guitars, and weird chicken sounds. His prowess with the instrument makes him a deserving winner…”
Texas Monthly, Michael Hall

Banjo player extraordinaire Danny Barnes is the 2015 recipient of the 6th annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Described as “one of a kind” and widely acknowledged as “one of the best banjo players in America,” Barnes is recognized for his experimental sound. The raw and unpolished musical breadth of his compositions has propelled him across the industry today. Barnes will be releasing a new solo record, a ten year anniversary re-recording of an earlier album called Get Myself Together [2005]. The new release, Got Myself Together, comes out in November on Eight 30 Records. He will be on the road solo this fall and winter; stay tuned for dates to be announced.

A Texas native now living northwest of Seattle, Barnes is one of bluegrass music’s most distinctive and innovative performers. He is known for blending together different sounds which defy labeling while redefining the banjo’s perceived image in a wide-ranging and four-decade long career. From his early days as the driving force behind the impressive Austin-based Bad Livers, a band of pioneering Americana missionaries, through a prolific solo career and the development of his trademark approach he calls “Barnyard Electronics” (which is also the name of his 2007 album) that incorporates digital technology and various effect pedals to stretch the tonal range of the instrument, Barnes has always listened to his proudly offbeat inner voice. His live shows involve a computer program he built in max/msp and a banjo.

Recently, he was recording in his home lab when a package arrived from Steve Martin with a letter notifying him that he was the recipient of 2015 recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

IMG_5787“The day that package came from Steve, I had gotten up at like 4am when it’s real quiet and I can get recording done. When FedEx came, I was kind of preoccupied. I saw that it was from Steve and thought, ‘Oh cool… he’s sent me one of his records.’” says Barnes in an interview with John Lawless in Bluegrass Today. “But then I thought… ‘Hey, I never gave him my address.’ I had met Steve earlier this year at a show with the Steep Canyon Rangers, and we got to talk a little bit, but I didn’t remember giving him my address. When I opened it up and saw what it was, I was completely stunned. I was speechless. I’ve never won anything, and it amazes me that anyone knows what I am doing.”

The Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass provides the winner with an unrestricted cash prize of fifty-thousand dollars, as well as a bronze sculpture created specifically for the prize by noted artist Eric Fischl. Created to bring recognition to an individual or group for outstanding accomplishment in the field of five-string banjo or bluegrass music, the prize highlights the extraordinary musicianship of these artists and bluegrass music worldwide. The winner is determined by a board consisting of J.D Crowe, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Anne Stringfield, Alison Brown, Neil V. Rosenberg, Béla Fleck, and Steve Martin. Previous winners have included Noam Pikelny (2010), Sammy Shelor (2011), Mark Johnson (2012), Jens Kruger (2013), and Eddie Adcock (2014).

When asked by Bluegrass Today what he would be doing with the honorarium from his Steve Martin Prize, Danny says, “I’m going to invest it back into the art, back into the banjo community. I have a new record coming out in November, and then I’m thinking of doing a straight up banjo record. I’ve never done that, and I’ve started talking to some of the guys I’d like to have play on there with me. I also have an idea for a contemporary piece for banjo, and I hope to finally get to work on that.”

Got Myself Together hits the streets this fall with another in the works this winter for a straight up banjo record, and he’s also working on a suite of contemporary music for banjo and tuba. Barnes has released over ten albums and has been featured on over 50 others. His most recent album, Junior Sampled [June 2014], is available to stream at http://dannybarnes.bandcamp.com/album/junior-sampled.

In addition to the above, Barnes will be releasing an avant garde “kinda” noise cassette coming out on his own label, Minner Bucket Records which specializes in limited run cassettes, for Cassette Store Day (10/17/15). Only 50 will be made.

Barnes says, “I’ve been at this a pretty long time. The main thing I use to get my ideas across has been the banjo. It has an unusual sound and is capable of a wide range of expression, however it isn’t very developed yet, in terms of what is being done with it in a current macro sense. It’s untapped.”

His skills as an instrumentalist and his open embrace and infectious love of music for music’s sake, have brought him to share the stage and record with a wide array of marquee artists that reads like a who’s who among broad musical landscapes, ranging from bluegrass greats Bela Fleck, Del McCoury, and Sam Bush, newgrass stars Yonder Mountain String band, to Americana artists Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, and Nickel Creek, to Jam friendly Gov’t Mule, Leftover Salmon, and Keller Williams, to jazz and blues instrumentalists Bill Frisell, Chuck Leavell, and John Popper, to members of the punk and metal Butthole Surfers, Dead Kennedys, and Ministry. He’s collaborated and shared stages with the likes of Bill Frisell, Yonder Mountain String Band, Robert Earl Keen and Dave Matthews, as well as wailed on a flying V guitar with members of the Butthole Surfers.

Stay up-to-date with news from Danny Barnes at www.dannybarnes.com, twitter.com/Wildknees, and Facebook.com/DannyBarnesBanjo.  Also feel free to ask him a question at http://dannybarnes.com/ask-barnes.

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Chris Jones and The Night Drivers’ Release ‘Lonely Comes Easy’
Aug 27th Through Rebel Records
Now Available on iTunes–> http://bit.ly/1aM4W2R

Featuring Guest Musicians Claire Lynch, Sierra Hull, Jeremy Garrett & more

A haunting, silky-smooth CD by some of the best players in bluegrass! Chris Jones’ voice is there with the great masters, and the Night Drivers should no longer be driving at night, but playing music 24/7.”
–Steve Martin

When I first heard Chris Jones over 25 years ago he became one of my favorite singers, and he continues to have one of the most distinctive and best voices in music, period. It’s like fine wine for the ears.”
— Jim Lauderdale

When Chris Jones and the Night Drivers woke up at the beginning of 2013, they were startled to learn that their recording of “Final Farewell” had topped Bluegrass Today’s first-ever annual bluegrass radio airplay chart.  To others, though, it came as no surprise.  Though the quartet’s “low lonesome”-singing front man founded the group back in the mid-1990s, it’s more recent years that have earned them a growing reputation for their signature sound, distinctive stage presence and deep connection to every corner of the bluegrass world.  And now, with the release of Lonely Comes Easy, the first all-new collection since 2009’s Cloud Of Dust and the first for Rebel Records in over a decade, Chris Jones and the Night Drivers are poised to cross into the ranks of the music’s most respected artists.

With two award-winning songwriters in the group—Jones and co-writer John Pennell scored the IBMA’s Song of the Year award in 2007 for “Fork In The Road,” while bassist Jon Weisberger earned the organization’s first Songwriter of the Year trophy in 2012—it’s only natural that Lonely Comes Easy is filled with the group’s own material.  Two songs, including the title track, comes from Jones’ pen, while he and Weisberger collaborated on two songs and brought in Chris Stuart, yet another Song of the Year winner, for a story of love that transcends family differences (“You’re My Family Now”). And, in a move that’s increasingly rare in the bluegrass world, the band tackles not one, but two original instrumentals—mandolin player Mark Stoffel’s “Swine Flu In Union County,” and banjo whiz Ned Luberecki’s “Don’t Blink.”

Other co-writers are a small but select group, including the legendary Tom T. and Dixie Hall (“Where I Am,” written with Chris) and popular contemporary bluegrass and country singer/songwriter Lisa Shaffer, whose “Barn Burner,” written with Weisberger, provided the inspiration for the album’s cover photo. Homages to Doc Watson (“Wake Up, Little Maggie”), Jones favorite Charley Pride (“Too Late To Say I’m Sorry”) and Ralph Stanley (“A Few More Years,” lifted from an earlier, out-of-print Jones album) round out the song list, together with the Night Drivers’ most recent #1 hit, a ‘grassy remake of country trucker classic “Wolf Creek Pass.”

Similarly, only a few guest musicians appear on the project: resonator guitarist Ivan Rosenberg, former bandmember Jeremy Garrett (Infamous Stringdusters) and IBMA Momentum Award Vocalist of the Year Emily Bankester (The Bankesters) turn up on two songs apiece, while harmonica maestro Buddy Greene supplies some mournful harmonica on “Wake Up Little Maggie” and Sierra Hull and two-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Claire Lynch cheerfully tackle the role of female chorus on “Wolf Creek Pass.”

Though it’s thoroughly contemporary, Lonely Comes Easy stays squarely in the bluegrass groove, reflecting the quartet’s appreciation for the ability of earlier masters to bring their own, unique voices—and creative twists—to the style while honoring its traditions.  And while there’s plenty of room for the classic themes of lost love and hard times, Chris and the rest of the band serve up plenty of the deft, subtle—and, occasionally, not so subtle—humor that has brought them growing acclaim as live performers.

Thanks to Chris and Ned’s roles as on-air talent for SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction continent-wide satellite radio channel, the Night Drivers have enjoyed a broad and growing audience that knows—and appreciates them—as personalities and, to use the classic bluegrass phrase, radio friends.  Now, with the release of Lonely Comes Easy, Chris Jones and the Night Drivers have served notice that they’re among the strongest contemporary artists that the music has to offer as well.

Track Listing ~ Lonely Comes Easy:
1} If That Was Love 2:55
2} Lonely Comes Easy 3:39 (with Emily Bankester)
3} You’re My Family Now 2:52 (with Ivan Rosenberg)
4} Wake Up Little Maggie 2:42 (with Buddy Greene)
5} Don’t Blink 3:16 (with Jeremy Garrett)
6} One Who’s Coming After Me 2:33
7} Where I Am 2:36
8} Too Hard to Say I’m Sorry 2:56
9} Barn Burner 2:54
10} Then I Close My Eyes 3:28 (with Darrin Vincent, Ivan Rosenberg & Emily Bankester)
11} Swine Flu in Union County 4:05
12} A Few More Years* 3:15 (with Sally Jones, Irl Hees, Ron Block & Dan Tyminski)
13} Wolf Creek Pass (with Claire Lynch & Sierra Hull on vocals and Jeremy Garrett) 6:15
*BONUS TRACK

Lonely Comes Easy was produced by Chris Jones and Recorded and mixed by Ben Surratt at The Rec Room Studio, Nashville, TN. “A Few More Years” recorded by Tom T. Hall at Top Dog Studios, Franklin, TN; Mixed by Rich Adler. Additional overdub recording by Mark Stoffel and Ivan Rosenberg Mastered by Yes Master, Nashville, TN.

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Chris Jones & The Night Drivers Perform This Fall:
8/31-9/01 Mammoth Lakes, CA – Mammoth Bluegrass Festival
9/11 Nashville, TN – The Station Inn
9/14 Glenmont, OH – Mohican Bluegrass Festival
9/21 Breinigsville, PA – Micro Bluegrass and Brews Festival
10/11 Norris, TN – Tennessee Fall Homecoming
10/12-10/13 Roseland, VA – The Festy Experience
10/18 Carterville, IL – O’Neil Auditorium

For more information, please visit: www.chrisjonesgrass.com/chris-jones-the-night-drivers/

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