Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is excited to announce the return of Jeff Little and his Trio on Saturday, August 18th for a concert at the Harvest House at 7:30 PM. Little, a Boone native, has developed a distinctive piano style all his own – influenced by bluegrass, blues, honky-tonk, jazz, and rock-n-roll music. Little is one of a kind, that’s why he’s called “The Piano Man of the Blue Ridge”.
Rodney Sutton, director of JSMHM, stated – “What a treat it is to present the Jeff Little Trio as a part of our 25th Anniversary Concert Season! To be able to include Jeff’s show as an annual event at JSMHM each year is a testament to his popularity among his loyal local fan base. Being a Boone native, Jeff plays in the High Country often during the year and he is always featured at MerleFest. But what makes this concert stand our above all his others is that Jeff is able to leave his trusty electric piano at home. Folks flock to the Harvest House to watch and hear him give the 88 keys on the venue’s baby grand piano a work out like they only experience once a year. – Jeff does more than just tickle the ivories!”
With his rack-mounted harmonica and vocals, Little can be a one-man show, but with two time National Banjo Champion and guitar flat picker Steve Lewis adding his hot licks to the mix along with bass player Josh Scott holding down the bottom end and singing – well you are in for a musical treat! Word has gotten around, and this much anticipated concert is typically the largest crowd of the JSMHM season. When Little hits the stage at Mountain Home Music it is really a family affair. For the past number of years, he is often joined on stage for a song or two by his father, Jerrell, and his 18-year-old mandolin playing son, Luke.
In a recent interview for a performance on UNC TV’s MyHome, NC, Little spoke of growing up in such wonderful musical atmosphere in The High Country. “My dad had a music store in Boone, North Carolina. It was an area where there were a lot of musicians, and there’d be a lot of people in there playing all the time,” said Little, “and Dad had great friends like Doc. I just started picking out tunes by the time I was five or six years old, or that’s what they tell me. I was so blessed because Doc and all the other musicians were just patient, even if I was eight or nine years old,” Little said, “and if everybody was playing something, when it came time to improvise and take a break they’d say, ‘Take one, Jeff.’”
Another important factor in Little’s development in becoming a musician was the role North Carolina mountain culture also played. “That area of the mountains up there—I think it’s just part of the culture that that’s what people did, they got together and played music,” Little said. With this backdrop of musical inspiration, it is no wonder that Little’s piano playing style took on a distinctive Appalachian sound that even he sometimes has trouble describing. “Oftentimes I think my left hand more emulates the thumb pick of a thumb pick guitar and there’s a little bit of a different groove to that. Or my left hand would be a bass and a mandolin chop, because that’s what I hear, and my right hand maybe emulates more what I heard on an acoustic guitar or something like that.”
The Harvest House is located at 247 Boone Heights Drive in Boone.
This concert is supported by the following private sponsors: Tony and Lynn Barbour; Bryce Holder – CPA PA; and Dr. Robert Bridgeman – DDS. Business Sponsors include: Compassionate Care of NC – courtesy of Dr. Leslie A. Smith – MD; Mast General Store, Stick Boy Bread Company, Piedmont Federal, The High Country United Way – courtesy of Jack and Karen James, Mountain Time Publishing, and the High Country Press. Additional support is provided by Boone TDA, The Watauga County Arts Council and Grassroots Funds from The NC Arts Council. JSMHM is also proud to be included as a site on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BlueRidgeMusicNC.com)
Tickets cost $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Student tickets are $5. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. Advance tickets may be purchased online and in limited numbers at the Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Stick Boy Bread Company(345 Hardin St, Boone), plus Footsloggers and Pandora’s Mailbox on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
Tickets, directions and more info can be found at the JSMHM website – www.mountainhomemusic.org/