18 January 2022

Tom Neal

The BIB learns with regret of the death last Tuesday (11 Jan.) of Thomas W. 'Tom' Neal (73), a highly respected banjo-player of the important Washington D.C.-Baltimore region. His complete musicality and command of the banjo were all the more impressive because, though fully qualified to stand on an equal footing with professionals, he had decided against music as a career; his working life was spent as a heavy-equipment operator.

Richard Thompson's obituary on Bluegrass Today includes the warm endorsement Tom Neal received from Mike Munford; two YouTube videos, one from a stage show and one track from his 2013 solo album Banjoland (Patuxent CD-245); and a discography. He played banjo on the influential 1975 Pickin' around the cookstove album (Rounder 0040), a 'fusion' project of old-time tunes played by bluegrass musicians. The image above comes from the January 2014 issue of Banjo News Letter, where he was interviewed by Tom Adams.

© Richard Hawkins



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