By Sherrie Norris
He’s been on stages across the world and is well known for his amazing talent as one of the greatest pianists to ever place his hands on a keyboard. His unique style can’t be explained, but once you see and hear Jeff Little, you will never forget the experience.
As part of the Jeff Little Trio, with Steve Lewis and Josh Scott, Little will be featured in a special indoor concert on Saturday, June 30 beginning at 7 p.m. at Mountaineer Equipment in Pineola, near the Blue Ridge Parkway and a short drive from anywhere in the High Country.
They will be accompanied by Little’s father and well-rounded musician, Jerrell Little, and Jeff’s son, Luke, on mandolin for this rare Avery County appearance.
“We are really looking forward to this concert,” said Little. “The folks there at Mountaineer Equipment are friends of my dad and it’s a great opportunity for us to partner up with them for this family-friendly event.”
A Boone native known far and wide, Little has been performing the last few years with Lewis and Scott, two great musician in their own right.
Having grown up in and around his family’s music shop in Boone, Little was influenced at an early age by a number of local musicians, including the late Doc Watson, with whom he enjoyed a life-long friendship. Just this past weekend, the Jeff Little Trio returned to perform at the annual Doc Watson Appreciation Day at The Jones House in Boone. Weeks earlier, they were among those veteran musicians at Merlefest, paying tribute to the late Doc and Merle Watson.
While most people would not associate the piano with the music of the Watson era — Little has crossed the boundaries with his distinctive two-handed style of playing, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity.
It’s been said that Little’s approach is the perfect combination of deep musical traditions, with an echo of contemporary.
Today, Little, as well as his trio, stays busy traveling the country performing concerts with an energy and dedication to their music that is evident at every show. In addition to the aforementioned local stages, Little’s performances have included The Smithsonian Institution, The National Folk Festival, American Piano Masters, and many festivals, performing arts centers, colleges and music venues throughout the US. He has also taken his traditional piano style around the world for the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs performing in Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, France and Tanzania. Jeff has released four CDs, and been featured on National Public Radio and PBS many times. In 2014, Little was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame.
He is a full time faculty member and Artist in Residence for the Popular Music Program at Catawba College in Salisbury.
More About the Jeff Little Trio
Steve Lewis is an award-winning guitar and banjo player from Todd, and is one of the most respected acoustic musicians in the country. Known for his flat picking on guitar and his mastery of the five-string banjo, Steve has won many competitions and is well known throughout the entertainment circuit. He’s often seen at the Walnut Valley Nationals, Merlefest, the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention, Renofest and the Wayne Henderson Guitar Competition. Steve is also a two-time national champion on the banjo, as well.
Rounding out the trio on upright bass is the talented Josh Scott from Fleetwood, who is quickly making a name for himself in the music world. Josh has been featured on stages and studios with many acclaimed artists of acoustic and Americana music.
Jerrell Little in greatly anticipating this event, an opportunity, he said, to bring three generations and other talented musicians to the stage together for his friends in Avery County.A quote from Mountain Home Music sums it up well when talking about Little: “Jeff Little never fails to convey his love for his region’s music and his love of performing it. The keys of his piano evoke old-time fiddle tunes, precious hymns, country classics, traditional blues and folk. His energy is infectious: clapping hands, patting feet, and sold-out rooms are typical fare for Jeff Little.”
This is a show you don’t want to miss. Tickets are $15 for adults with children 12 and under admitted free.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, nachos and drinks will be available.
Mountaineer Equipment is located at 65 Hanes Road, Newland, two miles south of the Pineola Intersection on Hwy 181. It is a great location for large gatherings and has hosted a number of special events, including fundraisers for Relay for Life,Hunters Helping Kids to High Country Sportsmen’s Coalition, weddings and more.
For tickets or more information, call (828) 733-2583.