By Sherrie Norris
Jeff Little’s appearance in Avery County last year was such a huge hit, the folks at Mountaineer Equipment in Pineola decided to invite him back to perform once again, much to the delight of their friends and neighbors.
The Jeff Little Trio, which currently includes Steve Lewis and Luke Little, Jeff’s son, will be featured in a special indoor concert on Saturday, June 29 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Mountaineer Equipment event center. Near the Blue Ridge Parkway and a short drive from anywhere in the High Country, this venue offers a unique opportunity that will be enjoyed by the entire family.
Well known throughout the United States and having performed on countless international stages, Little will return to the welcoming community for yet another summer performances with the Jeff Little Trio, and an added surprise or two along the way.
A multi-talented musician, Little has been described as one of the greatest pianists to ever place his hands on a keyboard. His unique style can’t be explained — and his performance is one you won’t forget.
The trio will likely be accompanied by Little’s father, Jerrell Little, also a gifted musician who plays a variety of instruments.
“We are really looking forward to coming back to Avery County for 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 grew up in and around his family’s music shop in Boone; he 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 and his trio stay 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. He remains an in-demand guitar and banjo teacher and is dedicated to sharing his love of music with the next generation.
Rounding out the trio on mandolin is Luke Little, who has quickly become an outstanding musician in his own right. He began playing mandolin at age 15, and in just a few years has won many competition ribbons, including first place at the 2018 Ashe Fiddlers Convention. In addition to his work as a professional musician he is also a full-time college student.
What people are saying about Jeff Little:
“Jeff Little is a remarkable musician, steeped in the tradition of his native Blue Ridge, yet also a virtuosic and eclectic innovator.”- National Public Radio.
Jeff Little tore the place apart with his wondrously quick and articulate piano style. He is always intelligent and richly melodic.”-The Boston Globe
Mountain Home Music“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, traditional blues, country classics, and folk. His energy is infectious: clapping hands, patting feet, and sold-out rooms are typical fare for Jeff Little.” —
Jerrell Little in greatly anticipating this event, an opportunity, he said, to bring three generations and other talented musicians back to the stage for his friends in Avery County.
This is a show you don’t want to miss. Tickets are $15 for adults with children 12 and under admitted free.
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, weddings and more.
For tickets or more information, call (828) 733-2583.