17 September 2019

Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa (USA) in Ireland, 30 Sept.-2 Oct. 2019

Thanks to the indispensable John Nyhan, the highly regarded Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa from North Carolina (see the BIB for 20 June and 25 June) will be playing three dates in Ireland, starting at the end of this month, on their way back from performing as headliners at the 11th Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival (27-29 Sept.) in Scotland. A video is on the Moniaive festival website and YouTube. The dates of the tour are:
  • Mon. 30th Sept.: Tuohy's Bar, Pound St., Rathdowney, Co. Laois, 9.00 p.m.; tel. 087 967 5752
  • Tues. 1st Oct.: Village Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co. Cork, 8.00 p.m.; tel. 087 792 1771
  • Wed. 2nd: Merry's Bar and Restaurant (upstairs), Main St., Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, 8.00 p.m.; tel. 087 064 0542
The band comprises Wayne on guitar and lead vocals, Emory Lester on mandolin, Kene Hyatt on bass, and Donnie Little of North Carolina on banjo. A brief bio of Donnie appeared in the BIB post of 25 June; a longer bio, supplied by Wayne, is at the end of this post.

John points out that the Kilworth show will be a very special occasion, as it will take place on World Bluegrass Day. This is held every year on 1 October, with the aim of celebrating bluegrass throughout the year by increasing exposure, raising international awareness, promoting consciousness of roots and heritage, and fostering community involvement.
Donnie Little, master musician

Donnie Little was born into a musical family, Christmas Day, 1959. His grandparents on both sides of the family played music. His dad Clyde Little and both of his brothers played guitar and mandolin. Donnie was fascinated by the sound of the banjo. At the age of three he begged his dad for a banjo until he finally got his first one Christmas day 1964 when he was five years old. His dad made a small-scale banjo and taught Donnie the fundamentals. Donnie also learned to play from listening to Earl Scruggs and Don Reno records.

Donnie started playing in public with his family band, 'The Little Family', at age 5 with his new little banjo. He played on their first record, which was recorded at Arthur Smith Studios in Charlotte, NC, in 1965. Don Reno played background banjo for them on this recording.

The Little Family traveled and performed bluegrass and gospel music extensively across the Carolinas. The group was the opening act for many notable bluegrass and country artists; to mention a few, Mother Maybelle Carter, Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, the Stoneman Family, the Lewis Family, the Osborne Brothers, Don Reno, Jim and Jesse, George Jones, and Hank Williams Jr. They also opened for the Earl Scruggs Revue in the early 1970s.

In the 1990s Donnie played for five years with the Crowe Brothers from Maggie Valley, NC. They played many bluegrass festivals on the east coast. He met a lot of people throughout his musical career, and also had the opportunity to play music with many musicians in Nashville. He became friends with Brother Oswald and played and jammed with many great musicians at the Oswalds' Christmas Parties. Donnie played impromptu jam sessions with Roy Acuff, Brother Oswald, Mac Wiseman, John Hartford, Chet Atkins, Bobby Bare, Johnny Russell, and Lightening Jack (who played the bass fiddle on all of Patsy Cline’s records), Marty Stuart, Eddie Stubbs, Earl Scruggs, Grandpa Jones, Bob Osborne, and many others. For the last twenty years Donnie has played banjo and guitar with many local Carolina bands and has worked as a freelance musician.

Today, Donnie teaches students on four different instruments - banjo, guitar, mandolin and dobro - four days a week full-time and plays music on the weekends. He presently plays with five different bands. In his shop in North Carolina, Donnie is the 'go-to' guy for setting up banjos and also works with Warren Yates building new banjos for the Yates Banjo Company in Hickory, NC. Donnie has been playing banjo with Wayne Taylor for the last five years. Donnie Little has been and still is a very big influence on many bluegrass musicians in the Carolinas. Folks come from miles around to take lessons and learn from Donnie, one of North Carolina’s Master Musicians.

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