Boone native Jeff Little and his trio will return to Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music series with a 7:30 p.m. performance at the Harvest House in Boone on Saturday, July 18.
Little is a bluegrass, blues, honky-tonk, jazz, rock and roll piano player. There aren’t many like him. That’s why he’s called “The Piano Man of the Blue Ridge.” His distinctive two-handed style, influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, has been described as “breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity.”
With his rack-mounted harmonica and vocals, Little can be a one-man show. However, Saturday’s audience will also be treated to former National Banjo Champion Steve Lewis and bass player Josh Scott, who will join Jeff. This configuration, known as The Jeff Little Trio, has played on Mountain Home Music for a number of years. Word has gotten around, and this much anticipated concert is typically a sell-out.
JSMHM director Rodney Sutton says, “When Jeff hits the stage at Mountain Home Music it is really a family affair. Not only does Jeff’s family and neighbors turn out, but he is often joined on stage by his father, Jerrell, for a song or two. A special treat for those who attend this concert, is the chance to hear Jeff ‘tickle the ivories’ on the Harvest House’s baby grand piano!”
As a youngster Jeff hung out at the music shop in downtown Boone that was owned by his parents. Musicians, including Doc Watson, would gather there regularly to pick a few tunes. Beginning around the age of six, Little would be invited to sit in. These personal and musical influences helped shape his approach to playing the piano, which is based on adding more notes than even a fiddler can play on these lightn’-fast traditional tunes.
By age 14 he was in demand as a professional musician. As a young man, Jeff settled in Nashville for a while, but a few years ago moved back to the Blue Ridge Mountains. He has taken his music around the world on U. S. government goodwill tours to Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, France and Tanzania. National Public Radio has said about him: “Jeff Little is a remarkable musician, steeped in the tradition of his native Blue Ridge, yet he is a virtuosic and eclectic innovator.” Last summer, Little was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame in Wilkesboro.
Tickets cost $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Student tickets are $10. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.mountainhomemusic.com. Tickets may also be purchased at Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountain and Pandora’s Mailbox and the Dulcimer Shop, both in the Martin House on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
The Harvest House is located at 247 Boone Heights Drive in Boone.
Private sponsorships for this week’s concert are T. C. Farthing Family, Bob Goddard and Bonnie Guy, Lynn Hubbard, Merida H. Steele – In Honor of John H. Steele, and The Estate of Joe Shannon. Business sponsors include The Dulcimer Shop, Harvest House Performing Arts Venue, The Mountain Times, and WETS-89.5FM. Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is also a site on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BlueRidgeMusicNC.com).
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