I grew up in Knott County, Kentucky actually at the confluence of the Big Doubles, Buffalo and Little Doubles creeks. At that time they all dried up in summer. My father had a country grocery store. About 1950, a neighbor who was 5 or 6 years older than I was playing oldtime banjo, and that was very rare, because in the Forties, fellows older than I started playing bluegrass. The culture had collapsed. All the things connected with the old music was gone. This fellow's name was James Sloan, and he had learned from a couple of outstanding banjo players, and I'd heard a rumor that my father had played.
The banjo came into the mountains with the first settlers. It did not come in the settlers that were considered upper class.... The banjo was the instrument of the backwoodsman, people on the frontier. Moving out of east Virginia were a lot of mixed race people, and they moved generally to the counties in southwest Virginia, northwest North Carolina, over into northeast Tennessee and over into Kentucky.
Category: Music Quotes