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Tony Trischka Releases New Single Featuring Billy Strings, "Brown's Ferry Blues"


This morning, bluegrass icon and ArtistWorks banjo instructor, Tony Trischka, released a brand new single entitled “Brown’s Ferry Blues,” featuring flatpicking powerhouse, Billy Strings, on both lead vocals and acoustic guitar.


Originally written and recorded by the Delmore Brothers in 1934, “Brown’s Ferry Blues” is injected with new life in this fresh take from Tony and Billy. Accompanying them on the track is a star-studded lineup of some of the most prolific players of modern bluegrass—including Béla Fleck alongside Tony on banjo, Sam Bush on mandolin, Mark Schatz on bass, and Michael Cleveland on fiddle.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play bluegrass banjo from a master musician like Tony Trischka? Try some free online banjo lessons now!


“Hearing Billy’s playing up close during the recording [process] absolutely blew me away. He had his own sound, which most people aren’t able to develop, and he could play completely inside or take it outside the chordal structure,” Tony expresses while reflecting on the development process of the new single. “Plus, of course, his time and tone were incredible, accompanied by a never-ending stream of wonderful ideas.”


“Brown’s Ferry Blues” is the first single from Tony’s upcoming album set to be released in late spring 2024, Earl Jam: A Tribute to Earl Scruggs, on Down the Road Records.


Having studied Scruggs’ unique approach to the banjo for over half a century, Tony was struck with new inspiration after unearthing a thumb drive containing over 200 recordings of Scruggs jamming with John Hartford at private gatherings during the 80s and 90s. After transcribing countless tunes and solos from this collection of recordings, Tony showcased a handful of these pieces in an overview of Scruggs’ career at Joe’s Pub in New York City, NY. When Ken Irwin of Down the Road Records heard recordings of Tony’s New York performance, the concept for Earl Jam was born.


“With Billy’s incredible vocal, laying on top, I couldn’t have been happier,” Tony continues regarding the new single. “When Billy got to the last verse, he sang, ‘Well, here we are, and here we are…,’ and then mentioned the names of everyone in the band. This was taken from the original jam with John and Earl. John had forgotten the words and just started riffing and named the folks that were in the jam. And that’s the wonderful thing about the sessions with John and Earl.”


To celebrate the release of this new single, we’ve uploaded a brand new lesson from Tony teaching this new version of “Brown’s Ferry Blues” to his bluegrass banjo course here at ArtistWorks. In addition to detailed video lessons outlining the tune and required techniques, Tony has included complete written transcriptions and tablature that students can use to supplement their learning. If you’re a current student of Tony’s, dive in and start learning “Brown’s Ferry Blues!” If you’re not yet a student, there’s never been a better time to join and start pickin’. 


Also featured on Tony’s upcoming Earl Jam release are bluegrass masters Stuart Duncan, Ronnie McCoury, Darol Anger, Molly Tuttle, Brittany Haas, Dominick Leslie, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, and more.


Listen to the premiere of Tony Trischka’s cover of “Brown’s Ferry Blues” featuring Billy Strings here:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play bluegrass banjo? Through our comprehensive banjo lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Tony Trischka, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Tony’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner banjo to advanced performance techniques, improvisation, and classic bluegrass tunes. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as banjo players and musicians.


Sample some free music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



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