12 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Punch Brothers’ picker, Noam Pikelny, branches out on his own for the first time since his 2004 debut, In the Maze. His 2011 sophomore outing, Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail, further emphasizes his five-string prowess. It’s a talent so awesome it prompted Steve Martin to award Pikelny the first Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music and landed him a spot on The Late Show with David Letterman. Martin joins Pikelny here on a rendition of the Appalachian standard “Cluck Old Hen.” The sprightly opener, “Jim Thompson’s Horse,” kicks off Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail as Pikelny’s fingers dance dexterously up and down the fretboard, slowing to dance with a mandolin as a stand-up bass keeps things grounded. “My Mother Thinks I’m a Lawyer” follows with a tinge of Tin Pan Alley–inspired sass before Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan pipes in on “Fish and Bird” with a lilting vocal reminiscent of Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins. Speaking of Nickel Creek, Chris Thile joins in the fun on “Bear Dog Grit.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Punch Brothers’ picker, Noam Pikelny, branches out on his own for the first time since his 2004 debut, In the Maze. His 2011 sophomore outing, Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail, further emphasizes his five-string prowess. It’s a talent so awesome it prompted Steve Martin to award Pikelny the first Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music and landed him a spot on The Late Show with David Letterman. Martin joins Pikelny here on a rendition of the Appalachian standard “Cluck Old Hen.” The sprightly opener, “Jim Thompson’s Horse,” kicks off Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail as Pikelny’s fingers dance dexterously up and down the fretboard, slowing to dance with a mandolin as a stand-up bass keeps things grounded. “My Mother Thinks I’m a Lawyer” follows with a tinge of Tin Pan Alley–inspired sass before Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan pipes in on “Fish and Bird” with a lilting vocal reminiscent of Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins. Speaking of Nickel Creek, Chris Thile joins in the fun on “Bear Dog Grit.”

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5

29 Ratings

29 Ratings

A True Banjo Great

musicfanatic878

I love this record. Noam Pikelny is right up there with Bela Fleck in my book. Some great guest vocals here too. If you like bluegrass related music, you've gotta hve this record in your collection.

Funny Or Die!!!

celticcandyxoxo

Bought this album after seeing the Funny or Die video - really cool music, amazing banjo playing. I really like Punch Brothers but it's cool to have the banjo as the focus. The Tom Waits cover is gorgeous and Steve Martin is great on the duet with Noam! Can't wait to hear more from Noam, if you like the Punch Bros you'll like Noam PIkelny too!

Terrific

BluegrassFan89

Noam Pikelny's sophomore release, Beat The Devil and Carry A Rail, solidifies Pikelny as a not only a master of banjo but also a major creative force. This work is more traditional and seeks to connect with Pikelny's musical roots. With this album, Pikelny creates an inspiring collection of tunes. On one of the more notable slower tunes, Pikelny recruits Crooked Still vocalist Aoife O'Donovan for a chilling and beautiful cover of a Tom Waits tune. Another great collaboration is Cluck Old Hen with Steve Martin. Great album - buy now!

About Noam Pikelny

A virtuoso five-string banjo player, Noam Pikelny was born February 27, 1981 in Chicago, Illinois. His childhood, he has said lightheartedly, was split between the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field and the Old Town School of Folk Music. He was already playing in traditional bluegrass bands while he was in high school, and went on to study music at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, after which he moved to Boulder, Colorado. He joined the Colorado ensemble Leftover Salmon in 2002 (he remained with the band until 2004), and two years later he issued his first solo album, In the Maze, on Compass Records. Pikelny relocated to Nashville in 2006 and began playing with New Grass Revival bassist and singer John Cowan. He also started playing with mandolinist Chris Thile that same year in the progressive chamber bluegrass band Punch Brothers. His second solo album, Beat the Devil & Carry a Rail, appeared from Compass Records in 2011, and earned a nomination for Best Bluegrass Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards. He earned a second nomination in 2015 for his chart-topping 2013 release Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe. In 2017 he released his fourth LP and first proper solo outing (as in no accompaniment), Universal Favorite. ~ Steve Leggett

HOMETOWN
Chicago, IL
BORN
February 27, 1981

Songs

Albums

Videos

Listeners Also Bought