This U.S. banjo player has pushed her instrument into new musical territory to secure an international following from fans of jazz, bluegrass, and new acoustic music. She is also co-founder of the Compass Records Group. Here are 20 Questions for... Alison Brown
1. Earliest music memory?
Sitting back stage playing with dolls while my parents rehearsed with a local choir.
2. First instrument?
3. Favorite albums in your collection? Do you have a top ten?
Earl Scruggs "Foggy Mountain Banjo", David Grisman Quintet (first album), Russ Barenburg "Cowboy Calypso", James Taylor "Hourglass", Cannonball Adderly and Bill Evans "Know What I Mean?"' Kate Rusby "Hourglass", Bela Fleck "Tales from the Acoustic Planet", Solas "The Words that Remain", Paul Brady "Spirits Colliding"
4. Apart from your own shows, do you attend live gigs? Where?
Yes - Compass artists' showcases around Nashville and other artists' sets at festivals that we are playing
5. Major live music experience (artist, venue, whatever)?
My favorite live music experience is playing festivals. In addition to the music, I love the sense of community among the musicians and the on going dialogue between fans and artists. As the mother of 2 small children, I also really appreciate the family orientation of most folk festivals.
6. Musical hero you'd most like to meet?
7. Emerging artist(s) to grab your attention lately?
The Lovell Sisters, The Bittersweets
8. Surprise us: other music genres you're drawn to?
Almost anything that features acoustic instruments.
9. And those you avoid?
Almost everything that doesn't!
10. Guilty musical pleasures?
Playing miniature guitars and banjos. It makes my hands seem big enough to reach anything.
11. Album title you wish you'd thought of first?
12. Best way to discover new music?
13. Do you watch music DVDs?
14. Your perfect music listening experience would involve:
Early evening set at an outdoor summer festival, kids with a good babysitter, sitting in the crowd.
15. Your all-time any-genre dream band line-up would include:
The guys I play with are my dream band.
16. Your music: are you currently working on something in the studio?
We just finished a new band oriented release called "The Company You Keep" and are working on a few more tracks for an upcoming Christmas project.
17. Your shows: upcoming gig/festival you're most excited about?
Canmore and Edmonton Folk Festivals. No one does folk festivals better than the Canadians!
18. Your shows: all-time favorite festival/performance?
MerleFest and Celtic Connections are my 2 favorite festivals. They are completely different in almost every aspect but both have an exceptional sense of community.
19. What might you be doing today if you hadn¹t become a musician?
Investment banker, I¹m afraid.
20. At the gates of heaven they will be playing...
...with my luck, the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies!