BOONE — Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is announcing the return of Boone native, Jeff Little, and his Trio for a concert at the Harvest House at 7:30 p.m. on July 22.
Little is a bluegrass, blues, honky-tonk, jazz and rock-and-roll piano player. He’s one of a kind — 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.
Rodney Sutton, director of JSMHM, said, “The Jeff Little Trio performs often throughout the year in the High Country. What makes this concert stand out above all the others is that folks flock to the Harvest House to watch and hear Little tickle the ivories on the venue’s baby grand piano.
“With his rack-mounted harmonica and vocals, Little can be a one-man show, but with two time National Banjo Champion and guitar phenom Steve Lewis adding his hot licks to the mix and 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 our largest crowd of the season.
“When Little hits the stage at Mountain Home Music it is really a family affair. Not only does his family and neighbors turn out, he is often joined on stage for a song or two by his father, Jerrell. And recently, Little has been bringing his 17-year-old mandolin playing son, Luke, on the stage for a few numbers.”
As a youngster, Little 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 6, 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 lighting-fast, traditional tunes.
By age 14 he was in demand as a professional musician. As a young man, Little settled in Nashville for a while, but a number of years ago he 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.”
In 2014, Little was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame.
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 Co. and Footsloggers and Pandora’s Mailbox on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
Tickets, directions and more information can be found at www.mountainhomemusic.org.