Nora Brown, Sidetrack My Engine
Due: September 24, 2021
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Photo Credit: Benton Brown
NPR Tiny Desk Concert
“[In her playing,] an intense involvement is revealed as the music appears to wash over her. She sings of experiences way beyond her years, old songs from Appalachian sources, stories that reflect a more difficult way of life.”
— John Cohen (Musicologist, photographer, filmmaker and founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers)
“Nora’s playing the fretless version of the banjo is more in tune with its African ancestry. It allows a seamless glissando, a spirited game of snakes and ladders, doggedly climbing and then slipping easily back to the start.”
—UK Folk Radio
Nora plays old-time traditional music with a particular interest in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee banjo playing. Along with the banjo she also sings traditional unaccompanied ballads from southeast Appalachia and beyond.
She has played at numerous venues and festivals on the East Coast including TED Salon in NYC, NPR Tiny Desk, Joe’s Pub, the Floyd Radio Show, Washington Square Park Folk Festival, Brooklyn Folk Festival, Brooklyn Americana Festival, Oldtone Roots Music Festival, Irvington Folk Festival, Summer & Winter Hoots at the Ashokan Center, and has had multiple month long residencies at famed Barbès in Brooklyn NY. Nora has participated in a variety of podcasts including WNYC’s Dolly Parton’s America. During COVID-19 Nora has continued to perform virtually and through Covid safe venues while also working on new recordings.
Nora has taught both beginning and advanced banjo classes at the Ashokan Center’s long standing old-time camp known as Southern Week in Olivebridge, NY, and currently teaches workshops through the Handmade Music School in Floyd, VA. and the Jalopy School of Music in Brooklyn, NY. Nora continues to travel and learn from old masters and has taken regular trips to eastern Kentucky studying under the late master banjo player and former coal miner Lee Sexton and master banjo player and historian George Gibson.
Nora has won numerous banjo and folk song competitions at various fiddlers conventions including the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Music Festival and Grayson County Old-time and Bluegrass Fiddlers Convention.
In October 2019 Jalopy Records released Nora’s first album of 11 traditional songs and tunes called Cinnamon Tree. It was produced by the legendary Alice Gerrard and pressed by Third Man Pressing in Detroit. It’s only available on limited edition vinyl with a digital download and liner notes. Cinnamon Tree landed #7 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts the 2nd week of its release.