Album Follows Tiny Desk Concert and Billboard Chart Appearance, Accompanies Summer NYC Dates at City Winery & St. Ann’s Church
Hailed as a “rising star” by NPR’s Weekend Edition and “impossibly talented” by Fretboard Journal, sixteen-year-old banjo virtuoso Nora Brown will return this summer with her third full-length album, Long Time To Be Gone (out August 26 via Jalopy Records). Recorded at the historic St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn Heights, the soulful, mesmerizing collection of traditional tunes and Appalachian instrumentals follows her performance on NPR’s prestigious Tiny Desk Concert series, where she was lauded for bringing “incredible, surprising depth to the Appalachian music she plays”; and 2021’s Sidetrack My Engine, which debuted at #6 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart. Lead single “Little Satchel” is out today (OK to share).
Here’s a video of “Little Satchel” performed no Roscoe Holcomb’s banjo filmed during the album sessions:
“I recorded my last project in an underground tunnel,” says Brown, “but this time we were working in a cavernous church, which allowed us to really experiment with all the sounds that different locations in the sanctuary and different mic configurations could produce. When you listen, you can hear the expanse of the space pretty clearly, which was really important to our approach on these recordings.”
The tracklist here offers a snapshot of a remarkable young artist at a pivotal moment in her evolution, showcasing both her deepening instrumental prowess and the arresting power of her poignant, understated vocal delivery. From Appalachian coal miners to Texas Rangers to the descendents of the enslaved, the songs draw on the lived experiences of a broad swath of Americans, keeping their stories and spirits alive with a both solemn reverence and exhilarating vitality. Brown plays a variety of unique instruments on the record, too, including an 1888 Ludscomb banjo owned by her great-great-grandfather, a fretless tack head banjo built by her dad, and an historic five-string banjo that belonged to one of her mentors, New Lost City Ramblers member John Cohen (the instrument was played by Roscoe Halcomb on his iconic High Lonesome Sound album and is now in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress).
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Brown first began learning stringed instruments at the age of six from the late Shlomo Pestcoe, who instilled a belief that music is meant to be shared. In the decade to come, she would go on study with old-time masters like Cohen, Lee Sexton, and George Gibson, win numerous banjo and folk song competitions around the country, and have her work featured everywhere from NPR’s All Songs Considered to WNYC’s Dolly Parton’s America. Brown made her Billboard Bluegrass Chart debut in 2019, hitting #7 with her first album, Cinnamon Tree, and followed it up in 2021 with the critically acclaimed Sidetrack My Engine, which American Songwriter proclaimed to be “an exhibit of sonic heirlooms carefully amended to meet a modern moment with vintage elegance.”
Brown will preview Long Time To Be Gone with an intimate July 11 performance at the City Winery Loft in NYC before celebrating the album’s official release with an August 26 headline show at St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn, where the collection was recorded.
Nora Brown Tour Dates
July 6 – Upper Jay, NY – Barn at Sugarhouse Creamery
July 11 – New York, NY – City Winery Loft
July 27 – Folk Holidays – Namest Nad Oslavou, Czech Republic
Aug. 14 – Music Haven – Schenectady, NY (with Steep Canyon Rangers)
Aug. 20 – Upper Salford Township, PA – Philladelphia Folk
Aug. 26 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Ann’s Church (album release show)
Aug. 27 – Portsmouth, NH – Portsmouth Music Hall
Sept. 1 – Cambridge, MA – Club Passim
Sept. 3 – Great Barrington, MA – Guthrie Center
Sept. 13-17 – Nashville, TN – AmericanaFest