“Some of the most interesting and haunting traditional music we’ve heard... impossibly talented...One thing that I really loved about both your albums is that both your banjo technique and your vocals are amazing. You seem to be mining these old songs with emotions far beyond your years.”
–Jason Verlinde, Fretboard Journal
“Extraordinary” (NPR Music)
“Rising Star” (NPR Weekend Edition)
“Sidetrack My Engine is both a reverent nod to deeply-rooted ole-time traditions, and an exhibit of
sonic heirlooms carefully amended to meet a modern moment with vintage elegance.”
–Madeline Crone, American Songwriter
“This fretless version of the banjo, more in tune with its African ancestry, allows a seamless glissando, a spirited game of snakes and ladders, doggedly climbing and then slipping easily back to the start.”
-Richard Hollingum, UK Folk Radio
Nora Brown started learning music at the age of 6 from the late Shlomo Pestcoe. From his studio apartment in Brooklyn, Pestcoe instilled in her the belief that music is meant to be shared.
Nora plays old-time traditional music with a particular interest in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee banjo playing. Along with the banjo and guitar she also sings traditional unaccompanied ballads from southeast Appalachia and beyond.
She has played at numerous venues and festivals including TED Salon in NYC, NPR Tiny Desk, Joe’s Pub, the Floyd Radio Show, Brooklyn Folk Festival, Oldtone Roots Music Festival, Irvington Folk Festival, Blue Ox Festival in WI, Mountain Song Festival in NC, and has had multiple month long residencies at famed Barbès in Brooklyn NY. She has been featured in a variety of podcasts including WNYC’s Dolly Parton’s America along with NPR’s Weekend Edition and All Songs Considered and Apple Music has placed her on the American Best Songs, New In Acoustic.
Nora has taught both beginning and advanced banjo classes at the Ashokan Center’s long standing old-time camp known as Southern Week in Olivebridge, NY. Nora continues to travel and learn from old masters and has taken regular trips to eastern Kentucky to visit with 90 year old master banjo player and former coal miner Lee Sexton and master banjo player and historian George Gibson.
Nora has won numerous banjo and folk song competitions at various fiddlers conventions including the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Music Festival and Grayson County Old-time and Bluegrass Fiddlers Convention.
In October 2019 Jalopy Records released Nora’s first album of 11 traditional songs and tunes called Cinnamon Tree. It was produced by the legendary Alice Gerrard and pressed by Third Man Pressing in Detroit. It’s only available on limited edition vinyl with a digital download and liner notes. Cinnamon Tree landed #7 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chartsthe 2nd week of its release.
In September 2021 Jalopy Records released Nora’s EP of 7 traditional songs and tunes called Sidetrack My Engine. It was recorded in mono in underground brick arched space in Brooklyn NY. Using an Ampex tape machine and vintage RCA ribbon mics from BigTone Records. 10” vinyl Pressed by United Record Pressing in Nashville.
Nora plays solo regularly and also as duet with fiddler Stephanie Coleman and fiddler Jackson Lynch.