If there’s such a thing as banjo royalty, it comes in the form of the king and queen of banjo – Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn. A fifteen-time Grammy winner, Fleck has the distinction of being nominated in more categories than any other instrumentalist in Grammy history, and has brought his banjo through scorching hot newgrass, traditional bluegrass, otherworldly funk, modern jazz, African originals, transatlantic Celtic, and classical realms.
Washburn has re-radicalized the banjo and, deftly following in the footsteps of the founding mothers of folk, has become a prominent voice of old-time in our time while bringing to light those ancient sounds of American and Far East cultures in new and exciting ways.
With one eye on using the banjo to showcase America’s rich heritage and the other pulling the noble instrument from its most familiar arena into new and unique realms, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn’s second album Echo in the Valley is simultaneously familiar and wildly innovative.
Fleck and Washburn met at a square-dance in Nashville, TN. In 2013, after the birth of their son, the two began touring as a duo so that their family could spend more time together. Their first, self-titled, album went on to win the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. "As musicians and as songwriters, Fleck and Washburn are predisposed to embrace the entire world — its sounds and its occupants alike,” writes NPR’s Stephen Thompson. “Echo in the Valley ties the many threads of their interests into a work that dazzles without sacrificing a shred of approachability.”