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Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 15, 2018
's cover photo
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 15, 2018
My most recent record (or album, as Damien O'Kane would say) Banjophony has been out for nearly a month now and we've been thrilled by the brilliant response to our 'cooperating-banjos' sound! There are exciting bits of news we can't mention yet but, for now, here's what some people have been saying about Banjophony: _____________________________ 'Fuses together Irish and American bluegrass traditions with impressive ambition' - FOLK ALBUMS OF THE MONTH, The Guardian, July 2018 'Individually Damien O’Kane & Ron Block are masters of their instruments. In Banjophony, they’ve taken a collective approach to create an album of incredibly captivating music' - Folk Radio 'They have invented the title Banjophony to describe their sound. I would have called it simply gob-smacking' - 5*Review Spiral Earth 'Banjophony goes deep into the American-Irish cultural connectivity in a soulful, intricate way' - Irish Music Magazine Official 'The banjo has too often been the subject of jokes but this transatlantic duo has produced a truly magnificent album - Shire Folk Magazine (Sep/Oct 2018) 'If you weren't up for swinging your pants to a banjo tune or two, you are now...Ron and Damien are flying the flag for making the banjo more cool and even sexier' - Louderthanwar 'Banjo playing is the new rock n' roll and you better believe it after listening to this wondrous album' - 4* Review “I challenge banjo non-believers not to be moved by this transatlantic banjo union” - Lynette Fay BBC Radio Ulster 'Absolutely delightful – a superb piece of music by two big banjo players. Working in harmony and tandem – a superb sound. Just so sweet' - BBC Radio Merseyside 'Phenomenal! I was utterly blown away by these guys. Exquisite musicianship. My gig of the year' - Ralph McTell (after a live show). "Beautiful and wild...there are no boundaries here" - Jerry Douglas "Banjophony is the soundtrack of summer" - Kate Rusby Thanks for all the banjo love!
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 12, 2018
NEW DUO BANJO ALBUM OUT NOW! I met Damien O'Kane while recording with him on Kate Rusby's 20 recording. We hit it off right away - he grew up playing banjo and guitar in Northern Ireland, and I grew up playing banjo and guitar in Southern California. We both play with high-level female artists who take the traditional music of their respective countries and make it fresh. We both love rooted music, and yet we also love many other genres. It wasn't long before he brought up doing a banjo record together. We spent the next few years, on and off, recording tracks together whenever I happened to be over there, at the beautiful Pure Records Studio out in the country in Yorkshire. Banjophony is pronounced like "polyphony" (puh-LIH-fuh-nee) or "monophony" (muh-NAH-fuh-nee). Ban-JAW-fuh-nee, a blending of the bluegrass and Irish genres, was released in the UK on July 20th. We kicked off the opening tour for the record at Kate Rusby's gorgeous Underneath The Stars Festival in Yorkshire, moving on to club and theatre dates, and ending up with a set at the massive Cambridge Folk Festival. Banjophony is available on iTunes, Amazon, and at PureRecords.net - I'll soon have cds for sale on my website. The recording also features players like Stuart Duncan, Sierra Hull, Sam Bush, Ethan Jodziewicz, Barry Bales, Duncan Lyall, David Kosky, Stevie Byrnes, and more. Some reviews of Banjophony: “I'm absolutely knocked out by this album from one of the world's great Irish banjo virtuosos Damien O’Kane and the brilliant bluegrass banjo player Ron Block.” Frank Hennessy, BBC Radio Wales “It's all rather genteel to start, as if they are sizing each other up but enjoy every second of it - it builds into something unstoppable! Oh man, what a pleasure.” Frank Hennessy, BBC Radio Wales “I challenge all banjo non-believers not to be moved by this transatlantic banjo union.” – Lynette Fay, BBC Radio Ulster “The end result is a sparkling rollercoaster record which showcases an instrument that proves incredibly versatile in the right hands – both showy and subtle. Together O’Kane and Block’s fused talents have succeeded in making two banjos subtle, awe-inspiring and majestic.” Spiral Earth
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 12, 2018
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 10, 2018
On the Alison Krauss/Willie Nelson tour at Humphries. It’s a tough life in San Diego.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 08, 2018
What a fantastic time I’ve had in the U.K. with Damien O’Kane, Steven Byrnes, Duncan Lyall, and Josh Clark on the O’Kane/Block Banjophony release tour! Damien is an incredible musician, arranger, producer, guitarist, and vocalist, but we were all about banjos on this tour. These dudes are a bunch of hard-working, smart, hilarious, and absurdly talented musicians. We played great gigs, had too much fun, and laughed a ton. I love them to death. Yyyyeeeaaaahhhhhh! In addition, I played three shows with the wonderful Kate Rusby’s band - the aforementioned fellows, with Nick Cooke on accordions and Joe Rusby on sound. Plus! The added bonus of having Michael McGoldrick play with both bands at the Underneath The Stars and Cambridge Folk festivals, and Lori Watson and Eddi Reader playing with Kate, too! Thanks to the Pure Records folks - Joy, Emma, Steve, Ann, and Joe - for hosting me. Pure is one of my favorite places to stay because they all make me feel so welcome. Thanks to Kate for loaning me her husband (Damien), her band (Steven, Duncan, Damien), her soundman (Josh), and her van! I went from Cambridge Folk Festival to fly the next morning from London to Dallas to Fresno, California, where I’m picking up the last four dates of the West Coast run of the Alison Krauss Windy City tour (these dates are co-shows with Willie Nelson). We played last night in Fresno - tomorrow, Costa Mesa, then San Diego, then Paso Robles. I’m thankful to be playing so much music.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 05, 2018
I love getting to play with this bunch - Kate Rusby's band with Damien O'Kane, Duncan Lyall, Nick Cooke, and Steven Byrnes, and Josh Clark. They're all fantastic, top-level musicians, knowledgable, utterly capable, dynamic, sensitive to the needs of the tune, and hard-working. Damien and I took Duncan and Stevie with us for the Banjophony tour, with Josh Clark kicking butt on sound, and it has been three weeks of high-level craic. Photo by Alistair Fraser.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 04, 2018
Josh Clark’s photo from the board of the Kate Rusby show at Wickham, and one I took from backstage during a song I wasn’t on. Tomorrow, I’ll be playing the Cambridge Folk Festival with Kate Rusby’s band, then heading over to the other stage to play our final show of the Banjophony release tour. Beautiful times with great musicians and good friends.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 03, 2018
Now available on Amazon:
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 02, 2018
Fantastic night and audience last night at the Old Bakery Studios in Truro, Cornwall. This was the last club gig of our Banjophony tour. Tomorrow I’ll be playing the Wickham festival with Kate Rusby’s band, then heading to the Cambridge Folk Festival to play again Sunday with Kate and then play our final Banjophony set (for this trip). Photo by Josh Clark.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 01, 2018
Great day in Truro. About to banjophonize.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 01, 2018
Fun on BBC Radio this morning with Davíd White and two banjos.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 01, 2018
Happening at 11am - two banjos, no waiting.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Aug 01, 2018
Tonight’s Banjophony venue in Devon, plus the fab aftershow food courtesy of Josh Clark.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 30, 2018
This will be fantastic - playing the Cambridge Folk Festival with Kate Rusby and Friends and then heading over to another stage to finish out the Damien O’Kane & Ron Block tour for our new duo banjo record Banjophony.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 29, 2018
Ethan Jodziewicz
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 29, 2018
Banjophony made the Guardian list for folk albums.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 28, 2018
Fab time yesterday playing on BBC Radio Leeds with Gayle Lofthouse interviewing.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 28, 2018
Banjophony is one of the Guardian’s Folk Picks of the Month: “Damien O’Kane and Ron Block’s rousing,15-track Banjophony, fuses together Irish and American bluegrass traditions with impressive ambition, offering occasionally rip-roaring, occasionally deeply tender, results.” We’re heading to London to play King’s Place tonight.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 27, 2018
Banjo fun on BBC Radio Leeds.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 27, 2018
Banjophony, my new recording with Damien O’Kane, is now available on iTunes. Banjos galore and then some.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 26, 2018
Ready to roll at Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham, UK.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 25, 2018
Come see us if you’re in the UK!
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 25, 2018
Join us tonight (25 July) at The Crescent in York, UK, for a banjo fest featuring my new duo record with Damien O’Kane, Banjophony. Here’s a bit of “Miller’s Gin” from our set at Yorkshire’s Underneath The Stars festival.
Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station Jul 23, 2018
Banjophony at Underneath the Stars in Yorkshire, England. This is the end of Damien’s tune “Potato Anxiety.” Banjo madness.