Banjoist Bob Carlin Beckons Five-String Fans to Jones House
Banjo player, Bob Carlin, has been interested in the banjo for a long time, particularly the old southern styles of playing. In the 1970s, he starting making trips from his homes in New York and Philadelphia to North Carolina to play with and learn from legendary banjo players like Fred Cockerham, Tommy Jarrell, and Kyle Creed. In the 1980s, he moved to North Carolina to make it his home permanently.
Carlin has spent the last several decades documenting, researching, writing about, learning, teaching, producing recordings of, publishing books about, and performing various southern banjo playing styles, with particular focuses on the players from North Carolina.
“I always liked North Carolina” Carlin says, “And it was my goal to live in the south.”
Today, Carlin is one of the most well-known clawhammer banjo players. He has played banjo on and produced numerous Grammy-Award nominated CDs and helped lead the field of instructional materials for old-time banjo styles. Frets magazine awarded him the winner of their readers poll three times, and he is highly sought after as a teacher at folk music and banjo camps across the country.
Many people have heard Carlin for his work with the late John Hartford, including on the soundtrack for Oh Brother! Where Art Thou? Carlin played banjo and produced the John Hartford String Band recordings for six years, until Hartford’s death in 2001. He continues to lead and perform with the John Hartford String Band, which presents a tribute to Hartford.
Carlin has continued his performing and teaching, and has also spent a great deal of time researching the banjo and instrument history for articles and books. He published a history of the Regal Musical Instruments company in 2011, Joel Walker Sweeney and minstrel banjo in 2007, and North Carolina Piedmont String Bands in 2004.
His latest book is called Banjo An Illustrated History featuring pictures and essays on the early development of the banjo through modern manufactured and handmade instruments. The book profiles banjo players, builders, and manufacturing companies, including 100 “milestone” instruments with specific stories and detailed photographs.
“Bob Carlin is one of the most knowledgeable people about the history of the banjo,” Jones House concert organizer Mark Freed says. “And Bob is a great player, so he is able to demonstrate exactly what he is talking about.”
“My shows have elements of banjo history with period replica instruments,” Carlin adds.
Carlin will be performing at the Jones House on Tuesday September 20, starting at7:30 p.m. Tickets for the concert are $20 per person. The venue can seat 40 people, and due to the limited seating, advanced reservations are recommended. But, all open seats will be available at the door, which opens at 7:00 p.m. on the night of the concert.
Carlin will also be giving an afternoon workshop for intermediate clawhammer banjo players. The workshop will begin at 4:30, and banjo players interested in attending should contact Mark Freed at the Jones House ([email protected] or 828.268.6282).
For more information about the Indoor Concert Series at the Jones House, including a complete schedule of performances, please visit www.joneshouse.orgor call 828.268.6280.
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