Banjo is my first instrument, and so I enjoy listening to a wide variety of banjo artists. Here is a list of my personal favorites
1. Jens Kruger – Part of the Kruger Brothers and by far my favorite player because of his amazing talent combined with taste, making amazing music. Out of the 9 CD’s I own of his I like nearly every song. check them out at http://www.krugerbrothers.com/
2. Mark Johnson – He plays Claw-hammer style with finesse, which is rare among claw-hammer players. He is great to listen to
3. Bela Fleck – Very likely Bela Fleck is the most talented Banjo player in the world, the reason I place him 3rd is because I really only enjoy maybe half of his music. If you like rock, punk, r&b etc you might like him. He also plays Classical, Bluegrass and Newgrass most of which I enjoy
4. Alan Munde – He plays a very nice melodic three-finger style which is pleasing to listen to. I enjoy hearing the melody in music rather than mind numbing noise, Alan Munde fits the bill
5. Earl Scruggs – I had to put Earl on the list even though I really don’t really listen to him much. Earl Scruggs is known as the one to make three-finger style popular, Scruggs is undoubtedly one of the best at playing straight three-finger style.
6. The Dillards – These guys were very good, although the recording quality wasn’t always that great fifty years ago
7. Grandpa Jones – He played claw-hammer style, kind of a rough style with great enthusiasm, fun listening
8. Ralph Stanley – This is another one I don’t listen to much any more, but is one of the older players that got started in the late 40′s. I listened to the Stanley brothers growing up and has the traditional sound like Scruggs
9. Jack Jeppson – I met Jack Jeppson in Arizona performing for the snow birds a few years ago. He plays Ragtime tenor banjo, fun stuff
10. Reed Martin – This man is very talented Claw-hammer player, playing old-time banjo he is one of the best
Here are a couple of bands I really like. I don’t know who the banjo players are, but the musicians are all phenomenal with a very good mixture of all the instruments not particularly showcasing the banjo, but top notch bluegrass bands.
Pine Mountain Railroad