California Banjo Extravaganza brings banjo and bluegrass all-stars to The Palms

By From page A9 | November 14, 2012

Move over, “Dueling Banjos,” to make way for the first California Banjo Extravaganza.

This year’s event — which the organizers hope to turn into a yearly production — features Bill Keith, Alan Munde and Bill Evans on five-string banjos. The back-up band is packed with some of the country’s best pickers. The California Banjo Extravaganza will make its debut at The Palms Playhouse at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $22.

On Friday, three top banjo pickers team up with an all-star bluegrass back-up band for the California Banjo Extravaganza debut. Keith, a former Bill Monroe Bluegrass Boy, has been a major force in bluegrass for 50 years. Evans is well-known in bluegrass circles and beyond as a dynamic musician who can fuse styles of music both inventively and seamlessly.

Munde, currently on the International Bluegrass Music Association’s board of directors, has been an integral part of bands ranging from Poor Richards Almanac (with Sam Bush) to Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys to the Flying Burrito Brothers (with Graham Parsons and Chris Hillman) to Country Gazette.

The back-up band is a who’s-who of some of top bluegrass and acoustic music pickers: John Reischman on mandolin (John Reischman & The Jaybirds), Jim Nunally on guitar (David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, John Reischman & The Jaybirds), Sharon Gilchrist on bass (The Peter Rowan & Tony Rice Quartet, Uncle Earl), and Chad Manning on fiddle (David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands).

With these seven musicians on stage together, weaving music new and old into never-before heard configurations, the evening promises to be a treat for fans of bluegrass and acoustic music — and, of course, the freewheeling sound of banjos.

Tickets for the California Banjo Extravaganza’s debut concert at The Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St., in Winters, are available at Armadillo Music in Davis, Watermelon Music in Woodland, Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, online at tickets.com and at the door if not sold out.

For more information, call 530-795-1825, or visit palmsplayhouse.com or billevansbanjo.com.

Kate Laddish

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