1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Noam Pikelny

By

Noam Pikelny

Noam Pikelny

promo photo

Description of Noam Pikelny's Music:

Bluegrass, banjo picker

Comparisons:

Noam Pikelny is a banjo player whose music is evenly tied to both traditional bluegrass and contemporary stringband music. As such, folks who are fans of the banjo - and all its tricks - will likely appreciate Pikelny's dexterous approach to the instrument. Similar artists include pickers run the gamut from folks like Tony Trischka to Bela Fleck, Tim O'Brien, Steve Martin, and Earl Scruggs. Fans of other great instrumentalists like Chris Thile (Pikelny is a member of Thile's band the Punch Brothers), Darrell Scott, Jerry Douglas, Rod Picott, and Bryan Sutton would also probably appreciate Pikelny's music. As Pikelny's Grammy-nominated 2012 release includes Aoife O'Donovan, it's likely Crooked Still fans would also appreciate his prowess. Fans of Leftover Salmon and the John Cowan Band (both of which Pikelny has been a member) would be interested in his solo efforts.

Bands with Whom Noam Pikelny Has Played:

The Punch Brothers
Leftover Salmon
John Cowan Band

Recommended CDs by Noam Pikelny:

Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail (Compass Records, 2011) compare prices

In the Maze (Compass Records, 2004) compare prices

Purchase/Download Noam Pikelny MP3s:

"My Mother Thinks I'm a Lawyer" (from Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail)
"Bear Dog Grit" (with Chris Thile and Bryan Sutton, from Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail)
"Six Red Birds (In a Joshua Tree)" (with John Cowan, Jeff Autry, Wayne Benson, Luke Bulla, and Shad Cobb, from New Tattoo by the John Cowan Band)

Noam Pikelny Biography:

Noam Pikelny was born in 1981 and grew up in Skokie, Illinois. He discovered a predilection toward music and instrumentalism early on, but it wasn't until he joined the lineup of Leftover Salmon in 2002 (he was 21 years old) that Pikelny's star began to rise. He contributed to that group for two years before leaving it to join forces with the John Cowan Band.

Then, in 2006, he got together with mandolin master Chris Thile just as Thile was working on a new solo album called How to Grow a Woman from the Ground. With Thile's long-time band Nickel Creek going on hiatus, he was expressing interest in forming some new kind of string band, and gathered together Pikelny, Gabe Witcher, and a handful of other pickers for a jam session. The quintet had such remarkable chemistry, Thile enlisted them as his new band. The group was known for a time as the How to Grow a Band upon forming in 2006. After a year of solid touring and gathering momentum, they delivered their first fully collaborative band EP, titled Punch and changed their name to the Punch Brothers. (It was also a reference to a Mark Twain story.)

In addition to his work with the Punch Brothers, Pikelny has released a handful of solo recordings through the years, including two full-length albums on Compass Records. He won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass in 2010 and earned a Grammy nomination for his 2011 release Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail, which was released in time to qualify for the 2013 nominations for Best Bluegrass Album. The disc reached Number 3 on the US Bluegrass chart and Number 27 on the Top Heatseekers Chart. (In addition to his nomination, the other artists in the category include Dailey & Vincent, the Grascals, Special Consensus, and Steep Canyon Rangers. Check out this full list of 2013 Grammy Nominations.)

Though Pikelny has done some solo work, he doesn't tend to perform a lot of solo shows. He does, however, tour frequently with Thile and the Punch Brothers. To catch them on the road, visit PunchBrothers.com for a full list of tour dates.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.