(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Grammy Award-nominated musician Noam Pikelny, the preeminent banjoist of his generation, will play old favorites and preview new songs from his upcoming album, “Universal Favorite,” at Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, February 10, at 9pm. Pikelny is a founding member of Punch Brothers, a three-time Grammy Award nominee, and was awarded the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass in 2010.
Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the “pros’ top banjo picker,” Pikelny steps out front and center with “Universal Favorite.” While it’s the fourth record he has released under his own name, it’s truly his solo debut. His previous solo efforts — including 2014’s landmark “Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe” — were full-band affairs that revealed his abilities as a dynamic bandleader while reinforcing his reputation as an inventive accompanist.
The new album features only the man himself, playing lovely originals and covers that showcase his unique approach to the instrument and compositional flair. He recorded them live in the studio without accompaniment, coaxing a wide array of sounds and colors out of his instruments, embracing the challenges and exploring the new possibilities of the solo setting.
And, for the first time in his career, Pikelny even sings. It turns out he has a striking deadpan baritone that conveys humor and melancholy in equal measure. This album, he says, “is the most personal statement I’ve put forward. The setting couldn’t be more stark and I think it lays bare my musical core. Most importantly, it’s an incredibly honest solo album, in that there are honestly no other people on this record other than me.“
In September 2010, Pikelny was awarded the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Pikelny, a former member of Leftover Salmon and John Cowan Band, is a three-time Grammy Award nominee and his record, “Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe,” was described by the New York Times as “a token of reverence, a feat of translation and a show of dominion.” The album is widely considered a landmark recording in acoustic music, and was named “Album of the Year” at the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards.
For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800.