Piano Man of the Blue Ridge

Story Submitted (mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Jun. 20, 2013 | Modified: Jun. 23, 2013
Piano Man of the Blue Ridge

Jeff Little will perform June 22 for Mountain Home Music.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Jeff Little is coming home.

The Piano Man of the Blue Ridge is returning to Boone to visit family, to see friends, to reminisce and to play on Mountain Home Music.

The concert is Saturday, June 22, at the First Baptist Church of Blowing Rock.

“Having Jeff Little on Mountain Home Music has become an annual affair,” said Joe Shannon, the program’s founder and host. “It’s something folks look forward to for the whole year.”

Little grew up in Boone, where his father owned Dixie Music Shop downtown. It was there, Little said, that he heard so much great music that he wanted to play what he heard. And he did. He learned to play old-fiddle tunes, ballads and hymns and hard-driving bluegrass — on the piano. Inspired by the music of the 1950s and ’60s, he also learned to play early rock ’n’ roll.

Doc Watson, a regular patron at Dixie Music Shop, also inspired Little. Watson played many different styles of music — all the music that Little loved. He and Watson developed a personal friendship and a musical relationship that lasted a lifetime.

About Little, National Public Radio called him “…a remarkable musician, steeped in the tradition of his native Blue Ridge, yet also a virtuosic and eclectic innovator.” And a review in The Boston Globe said, “Jeff Little tore the place apart with his wondrously quick and articulate piano style. He is tricky and playful, yet always intelligent and richly melodic.”

In recent years, Little has added two local musicians to his touring entourage: Steve Lewis and Josh Scott, who are also members of Mountain Home Music’s house band, the Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys. Lewis is a two-time National Banjo Champion and a MerleFest Guitar Champion, and Scott is a highly sought-after bassist.

The concert, “The Piano Man of the Blue Ridge,” starts at 7:30 p.m. The Blowing Rock First Baptist Church is located at 350 Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Student tickets are $10, and children’s tickets cost $5.

Tickets may be purchased at the Mast Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Kudzu Music in Boone and at Pandora’s Mailbox and the Dulcimer Shop, both in the Martin House on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.

Tickets may also be purchased online though the Mountain Home Music website, http://www.mountainhomemusic.com. For more information, visit the website or call (828) 964-3392.

The purpose of Mountain Home Music is to honor the music and the musicians of the Appalachian region. Mountain Home Music is affiliated with the Blue Ridge Music Trails, a project of the North Carolina Arts Council.

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