About

Anthony Ihrig

Anthony Ihrig is a banjo playing songwriter from Minneapolis who weaves together modern storytelling with wistful folk melodies and head-nodding grooves on traditional bluegrass instruments.

As a solo performer and member of the award-winning bluegrass band The High 48s, Anthony is known for connecting with audiences through heart-felt songwriting, high-energy performances and spontaneous stories from the stage.

An accomplished instructor, he teaches private banjo lessons as well as hosts workshops and coaches students on songwriting, performing, recording and pursuing a creative career in music.

As a session musician and recording artist, Anthony’s banjo and dobro playing has been featured on the soundtracks to TV documentaries, short films as well as national advertising campaigns and he has guested on albums by numerous artists and bands including a track on an album by Grammy-winning children’s folk-duo The Okee Dokee Brothers.

Anthony is also co-host of a weekly live music interview on show on YouTube focused on Folk and Americana songwriters and musicians called the Back Catalog Listening Party.

If you’re interested in connecting as a student, a collaborator or you just want to say “hi,” please feel free to reach out here or connect @AnthonyIhrig on Instagram.


My Musical Highlights

In 1999, I co-founded the Twin Cities-based string band Free Range Pickin’ (1999-2009), who, alongside young acoustic bands like Trampled by Turtles and Pert Near Sandstone were at the forefront of a “newgrass” revolution in Minnesota that helped introduce modern string band music to a whole new generation of fans.

Free Range Pickin' Logo

In 2004, after years of academic research on the history of bluegrass music and the banjo, I was asked to consult with banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck on the history of the banjo before the filming of his award winning documentary Throw Down Your Heart.

Hanging With Bela Fleck
Hanging w/ Bela!

In 2006, I co-founded The High 48s Bluegrass Band, one of the premier traditional bluegrass bands in the region and winners of the prestigious RockyGrass Bluegrass Band Competition in Lyons, Colorado in 2008.

The High 48s win RockyGrass!
The 48s at RockyGrass!

In 2010, I released an original banjo instrumental with the High 48s entitled Darrington, which features Grammy winners Randy Kohrs on the Dobro and Mike Compton on the Mandolin. It was a real honor to have the play on that track!

In 2011, I released my debut solo album Missing Ghosts, an all original album of songs and instrumentals that features some of the top acoustic musicians in the upper-midwest. Performances in support of this project included a slot at the prestigious Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-time Music Association’s annual festival.

Anthony Ihrig - Missing Ghosts Album Cover
Missing Ghosts

In 2012, I was selected to perform my song Great Northern Railroad at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Songwriter Showcase at the World of Bluegrass convention in Nashville, TN.

Anthony is selected for IBMA Songwriter Showcase
IBMA Songwriter Showcase

In 2016, my banjo playing was featured on the soundtracks of two wonderful independent films, the PBS documentary Kevin Kling: Lost & Found (2016) and the award-winning comedy short: You Beautiful Crazy Blind Cripple (2016)

In 2020, my banjo playing appeared on a track off of the Grammy-winning band The Okee Dokee Brothers album Songs for Singing as well on a controversial Burger King commercial centered around cow flatulence

I got to Raise a Ruckus with the Okee Dokee Brothers!
I got to Raise a Ruckus with the Okee Dokee Brothers!

In March of 2020, at the beginning of the COVID lockdown, I started a weekly musical happy hour on YouTube with my friend Mother Banjo called The Back Catalog Listening Party, where we get to listen to music and interview our musical friends and heroes!

The Back Catalog Listening Party

In 2021 I was honored to be featured on the cover of the Minnesota Bluegrass Magazine which featured an article about my work to keep our local acoustic music community connected during lockdown via The Back Catalog Listening Party and a series of online bluegrass brunches that I hosted with members of the The High 48s.

Other notable accomplishments in the last decade include releasing 13 full-length albums, touring the United States playing major bluegrass festivals, performing with Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor as well as having my original music featured on radio stations across the country and on local television shows like Almanac (PBS) and the KARE 11 Morning Show (NBC).

“Great picking and cool songs”

-Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys

Comments

6 responses to “About”

  1. Art Fargo Avatar
    Art Fargo

    Very Cool Guy with Amazing Talent!

    1. Anthony Ihrig Avatar

      Thanks, I appreciate it!

  2. Linda Milashius Avatar

    Anthony, we fell in love with your sound and talent when we stumbled across FRP many years ago and throughly enjoyed attendng many of that group’s performances. We were unaware of the High 48s group and so have been missing your wonderful musical contributions for couple of years now. So happy to have found you again! Hope you’ll be doing some live performances so we can again enjoy your songs, your sound, and, of course, your banjo, in person.

    1. Anthony Ihrig Avatar

      Hi Linda, thank you for the nice note and kind words! It is always great to meet FRP fans, that was a special time for me. I recently released a solo record that is a bit more in the FRP vein (w/ Dan on Bass), you can find more info here: http://anthonyihrig.com/missing-ghosts/

      I will be updating my “shows” page soon with my late spring & summer gigs, if you ever make it out, it would be very nice to meet you!

  3. Ian Ridgway Avatar
    Ian Ridgway

    Anthony. So cool that I can message you directly here 🙂 I Just want to tell you that your song Missississi Strut almost single-handedly inspired me to pick up the banjo. I am six months in now and will never look back. As a bass guitarist of ten years or so, I needed a new means of expression and your music helped navigate me to Bluegrass and the mighty banjo. Thanks so much and I can’t wait for more of your lyrical and incredibly melodic banjo instrumentals. More please!
    Regards.

    1. Anthony Ihrig Avatar

      Greeting Ian,

      Wow, thanks for sharing that, I’m truly honored to have had a hand in you picking up the banjo, that makes me extremely happy! Also, thank you for the kind words about my music. I took some time off from writing (for a new baby), but have some new material in the works, as well as some banjo instructional stuff. If you’re interested, please check back in a couple months. I’d also love to hear how you are progressing and if you’re still loving the banjo 🙂

      Take care and enjoy that “mighty banjo!”

      Anthony

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