06 December 2016

Rex McGee

The BIB editor writes:

Since the beginning of last year Bluegrass Today has been keeping track of an invaluable video series made by Bud Bennett at Eadford University, VA. These are interviews of two hours or more with eminent people in the banjo world - pickers Butch Robins, Sammy Shelor, and Jens Kruger, classical player John Bullard, and maker/designer Tom Nechville. The videos appeared on Bud Bennett's Appalachian Music and Culture blog and are now grouped as the Banjo Masters series.

The latest in the series are two hour-long videos on Rex McGee of North Carolina, a highly eclectic player: his grandfathers played banjo and fiddle, and he himself plays a strong old-time fiddle style and compiles a fiddle-tune video archive; but on the banjo he also plays jazz and Irish music and uses a tuning (gFGCD) that facilitates playing in those genres as well as giving a 'mixolydian' sound to bluegrass. He met the late Bill Keith in Ireland at one of the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festivals, and plays with Ryan Cavanaugh. And his band 'Kripplekrunk' includes Nate Leath, who was over here in 2015 playing fiddle with Tom Mindte's Patuxent Partners.

John Lawless on Bluegrass Today writes: 'Banjo players should absolutely be required to schedule the time to watch all of Bennett’s videos, and they are worth the attention of anyone with a fascination for the instrument.' The McGee videos should be specially interesting for anyone playing Irish music on the 5-string, but there's much more. Watch the introductory video and explore the other links on the Bluegrass Today feature.

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