• The 6th Annual California Banjo Extravaganza

    Featuring Charlie Cushman, Bob Carlin & Bill Evans with Tim Stafford, John Reischman, Chad Manning & Sharon Gilchrist. Sponsorship provided by Banjo Cafe, Mandolin Cafe. Elderly Instruments, Deering Banjos, Peghead Nation, Homespun Tapes & EMG Pickups.

    The 6th Annual California Banjo Extravaganza

    Richmond, Calif. — Each November, San Francisco Bay Area banjo player Bill Evans brings together some of the best banjo players in the world and combines them with an ace backup band featuring several West Coast favorites for a series of incredible concerts across northern California and an afternoon of workshops in Berkeley.

    This year's annual northern California five-string banjo celebration features 2015 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Charlie Cushman, North Carolina old-time banjo master Bob Carlin and, of course, California favorite Bill Evans. Joining this trio of banjo greats is their All-Star band, this year featuring 2017 IBMA Songwriter of the Year Tim Stafford (guitar) from the award-winning bluegrass band Blue Highway, John Reischman (mandolin), Chad Manning (fiddle), & Sharon Gilchrist (bass & mandolin) for an evening of bluegrass, old-time, and beyond, focusing on the many different ways music can be made on the five-string banjo.

    Charlie Cushman is best known these days as the banjo player in Jerry Douglas’ Flatt and Scruggs tribute band, called The Earls of Leicester. Most banjo players agree that Charlie is not only the most skilled Earl Scruggs stylist but also probably knows more about Don Reno’s banjo playing than anyone else today. That’s a powerful combination, right there! These qualifications, along with many years of recorded appearances with artists as diverse as Joe Diffie, Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland & Tim O’Brien, have earned Charlie the coveted IBMA Banjo Player of the Year award in 2015.

    North Carolina old-time banjo player Bob Carlin is probably the best-known clawhammer player performing today. A mainstay of the John Hartford String Band with several Rounder Records solo albums also to his credit, Bob is also known as a producer, teacher and researcher of Southern music and banjo styles. His books include The Birth of the Banjo: Joel Walker Sweeney and Early Minstrelsy and Strings Bands in the North Carolina Piedmont. He has several Homespun Music instructional DVD projects and is a three-time Frets magazine poll winner.

    San Francisco Bay Area musician Bill Evans curates the California Banjo Extravaganza each year. Bill has spent a lifetime bringing together folks who love and play the five-string banjo. His books Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies and Banjo For Dummies are among the most popular instructional books in the world. His most recent recorded project is Songs That Are Mostly Older Than Us with Fletcher Bright and Norman and Nancy Blake. These days, you’ll find Bill performing with his solo show The Banjo in America and with flatpicking legend Dan Crary and bass player Wally Barnick. Over the last fifteen years, he has performed with David Bromberg, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, the Steep Canyon Rangers, J. D. Crowe, Kathy Kallick, Claire Lynch and Jody Stecher, among many others. His Freight Bluegrass Jam Classes are the most popular ensemble classes in California and his monthly free shows in Kensington with Bangers & Grass, now spanning seven years, attract audiences from all over the world.

    Joining the All-Star Band this year is the 2017 IBMA Songwriter of the Year and Blue Highway band member Tim Stafford. A native of Kingsport, TN, Tim is also known for his playing and singing as a member of Alison Krauss & Union Station and countless studio sessions with artsist such as Jorma Kaukonen, Willie Nelson, Tony Trischka and Kenny Chesney. He’s one of the world’s most skilled bluegrass guitarists and has over 225 original recorded songs to his credit. His brand new CD is Acoustic Guitar, featuring 13 original instrumentals and the song “I Am America,” and he is the author of Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story, the critically-acclaimed authorized biography of this important guitarist.

    John Reischman is one of the premier mandolinists of his generation: an understated visionary whose music is virtuosic without ever being flashy and who is renowned for his impeccable taste and tone. A Juno-nominated and Grammy award-winning artist, John is a founding member of California’s Good Old Persons who is also celebrated for his work with the Tony Rice Unit as well as leading his own band John Reischman & The Jaybirds.

    Chad Manning is flat out one of the best fiddlers in the world, plain and simple. These days, Chad along with his wife Catherine, teaches hundreds of folks out of the Manning Music studio in Berkeley. In addition, Chad performs with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, the David Grisman Sextet and Bangers & Grass, featuring Bill Evans and Jim Nunally. Along with John, Bill and Sharon, Chad also teaches online via Peghead Nation (www.pegheadnation.com).

    Sharon Gilchrist (bass and mandolin) performs regularly with John Reischman and guitarist Scott Nygaard, in addition playing with Scott Law and the Bay Area-based band The Flatliners, which includes Keith Little and Avram Siegel. She is also known for her work with Peter Rowan & Tony Rice and the old-time band Uncle Earl.

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