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 the latest 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 or Twitter.

My Musical Highlights

Free Range Pickin' Logo

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.

Hanging With Bela Fleck
Hanging w/ Bela!

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.

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

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.

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!

Anthony Ihrig - Missing Ghosts Album Cover
Missing Ghosts

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 is selected for IBMA Songwriter Showcase
IBMA Songwriter Showcase

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.

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)

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