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Bill Keith & Tony Trischka Discuss Melodic Style Banjo

In this video, Tony Trischka discusses the development of Melodic Style Banjo with the legendary Bill Keith who recently passed away at the age of 75. This was recorded back in 2009 at Bill Keith's home in Woodstock, NY and the full 9-part series is available in Tony's "Special Guests" area. You can hear Bill playing one of his famous tunes "Devil's Dream" here, which was actually the first to incorporate the melodic style banjo which he invented. Bill Keith was an important influence on Tony, and he shares his thoughts with us below:

"As many of us were, I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Keith. The doors of banjo music were unlocked through his influence, allowing us to explore a rich lode of creative territory quite separate from the genius of Scruggs style. His melodic approach enabled the progressive arm of banjodom to fully bloom.

"Not everyone chose the melodic pathway, though I recently watched JD Crowe execute a complete and perfectly melodic version of 'Devil's Dream', which he learned from Bill. Bill also gave us Keith pegs and shared his passion for teaching in countless workshop situations and one on one encounters.

"He was my hero growing up (and still is). In 1966 I was jamming at the Folklore Center in New York City with a friend of mine prior to seeing Bill Monroe at the Gaslight cafe.  Moments later Bill walked in with Peter Rowan. I was 17 and nervously introduced myself. Bill proceeded to sit down with me for an hour, selflessly sharing his knowledge to this high school kid who idolized him.

"Thank you Bill for everything you gave to us." - Tony Trischka

bill keith tony trishcka talking banjo