Patuxent Records never ceases to present new and unique quality projects. The label never disappoints and this latest The Patuxent Banjo Project is certainly at the top of their offerings. This 2-CD collection of 40 banjo performances by as many performers of the 5-string instrument certainly will capture the interest of any banjo or bluegrass fan. The enclosed 44 page booklet offers a cursory overview of each of the artists included in this project.
The collection of the history of the Baltimore, Maryland region which became a major bluegrass region of America, is captured with the music on the dual CD set plus photos of the artists performming. This set captures the best of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Maryland, Northern Virginia and Southern Pennsylvania as it is today.
During and immediately after World War II, tens of thousands of rural folks relocated from the Appalachian and Piedmont regions of southwest Virginia, West Virginia, the western Carolinas, and east Tennessee to the greater Washington-Baltimore area bringing their cultural preferences and sometimes talents as well. The main attractions came from expanding employment opportunities in the building, manufacturing, and service trades.
Those with musical ability could find supplemental and part-time jobs on the flourishing club scene. Country music parks such as New River Ranch and Sunset Park were not all that far away and within driving distance of not only the D.C. - Baltimore region but also greater Philadelphia. Musical prowess could also be displayed at the talent contests in Warrenton, Virginia or journey southward to the Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond. Local deejay Don Owens stimulated interest in bluegrass music by encouraging local musicians to visit recording studios. The most fortunate of these forged successful part-time, and for a few, full-time careers.
This monumental project is designed by co-producers Mark Delaney and Randy Barrett—noted players in their own right—to highlight the impressive banjo work exemplified by these forty banjo pickers who took part in making the Greater Washington-Baltimore area one of the major regional concentrations of bluegrass music in America. It achieves the goal that the producers and Tom Mindte set out to accomplish. In so doing, this constitutes a major sound document in the history of a major musical genre.
A review of this track listing is sure to illustrate the diversity of style and the broad scope captured within The Patuxent Banjo Project.
The list of banjo artists from Bill Emerson, Eddie Adcock, Mike Munford, Tom Neal Roni Stoneman, Murphy Henry and an entire array of others will give any banjo enthusiest a wonderful collection to study, enjoy and even learn from.
The Baltimore Fire