Best Folk Artist - 2004
Once he brought old-time music to the hipsters at Tangerine; now banjo maestro Dave Landreth spends his Tuesday nights outside the Cabin Inn at the City Museum, leading a group of players half his age through fiddle tunes as labyrinthine as the tree branches and mangled metal above them. Outwardly, nobody dances; inwardly, they're spinning like a cotton gin. Landreth's banjo, worn as Willie Nelson's guitar, reels off notes like a tornado skittering over a chrome scrapyard. Chiming and clanging, with little spark-like fills, his frailing style is punk-fast and Constitution-deep. Landreth knows the twists and turns of a thousand tunes, but he wears his learning lightly and always translates the history behind these old songs into the pealing, swinging sound of fun.