Noam Pikelny

Noam has emerged as the preeminent banjoist of his generation, and the greatest color-blind banjoist of all-time.

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Universal Favorite is the fourth record Noam Pikelny has released under his own name, but it’s truly his solo debut. His previous efforts—including 2011’s Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail and 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 release 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 long and illustrious 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 “my musical manifesto. It’s the most personal statement I’ve put forward. The setting couldn’t be more stark and I think it lays bare my musical core. At times it’s autobiographical, as these songs I gathered illuminate the path I’ve traveled so far. Most importantly, it’s an incredibly honest solo album, in that there are honestly no other people on this record other than me.”

Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the “pros’ top banjo picker,”

 Noam is a founding member of Punch Brothers, a string ensemble which The Boston Globe calls “a virtuosic revelation” and The New Yorker describes as “wide- ranging and restlessly imaginative.”

While he has been recognized internationally for his immense musical skill, Pikelny's greatest talent is perhaps his ability to insert, without fail, into almost all conversations that he was the first member of Punch Brothers to become a homeowner.

Bright & Lyon

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