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Abigail Washburn

Abigail Washburn 6273170Today’s post is about Abigail Washburn, a singer-songwriter and player of old-time clawhammer banjo.

I seem to be covering women musicians I like in groups of three. The first three were women involved in folk music who are my age or older: Peggy Seeger, Kristin Lems and Malvina Reynolds. This is the third post of women in folk, bluegrass or related genres who are so much younger than me. The previous two posts were for Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz.

Abigail didn’t start out to become a banjo player or performing artist. She had intended to study law in China. Then she heard a recoding of Doc Watson doing an old-time tune and she became obsessed with the banjo. She speaks and sings in Chinese. Abigail Washburn describes how she ended up where she is in the following Ted Talk.

Here’s Abigail playing with the all girl group, Uncle Earl.

Abigail is married to another banjo player, Béla Fleck, one of the world best and most renowned virtuosos on banjo. They have a child and are touring together so the family can remain together. Here’s a PBS News Hour story of their union.

This next video shows Abigail playing Shotgun Blues on Cello Banjo, accompanied by Béla Fleck.


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