Jan Johansson Benefit

Jan JohanssonCircle of Friends for Jan has announced that there will be a benefit for Jan Johansson, a Bill Monroe disciple and multi-instrumentalist and fiddle teacher based in Cary, North Carolina.

He also is known for giving fiddle workshops and instruction alongside Bobby Hicks in many locations.

Jan (pronounced “Yahn”) has a heart condition and needs major surgery, a heart transplant. To help Jan with medical expenses and wages lost from his absence from his teaching, several of his friends have arranged a benefit concert at the Sertoma Amphitheatre at Fred G. Bond Metro Park in Cary.

The benefit will take place this coming Sunday, November 2, beginning at 1:00pm. Activities include a special appearance by legendary bluegrass fiddle player Bobby Hicks; singer, songwriter and former member of New Vintage, Julie Elkins; and performances by bluegrass bands Samantha Casey and the Bluegrass Jam, Chatham County Line, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, The Tims Family Band, Nixon, Blevins and Gage, and a grand finale with Jan and Friends. Admission by donation (suggested amount: $15 for adults). Children under 12 free.

Jan Johansson was born in Skelleftea, Sweden, in 1958 and began playing acoustic music at the age of 14. By the time he was 18 he had mastered the guitar, fiddle and mandolin. Jan married Theresa Blue of Carthage, North Carolina, and moved to the USA in 1989 after three years of travelling back and forth between the two countries and began working as a music instructor. He founded Johansson’s Acoustic Music Studio (JAMS) to provide music instruction for people of all age groups interested in bluegrass and other forms of acoustic music. Focused on one-on-one personal instruction, JAMS has taught hundreds of acoustic musicians in and around North Carolina in guitar, fiddle, mandolin and bass.

Since moving to North Carolina, Jan has played in a number of accomplished bands, including the Pisgah Pickers, the Backsliders and New Vintage. While performing with New Vintage (1992-1997), the band had several songs on Bluegrass Unlimited’s Top 20 Survey and won the SPBGMA World Champion band title in 1993. In that same year the band was named Pizza Hut Bluegrass Showdown International Champions. New Vintage was nominated for the Emerging Artist of the Year honor by the IBMA in 1994.

Johansson has also performed as a studio musician in the USA as well as Europe on numerous CD projects and recorded commercial jingles using a variety of instruments. Lorraine Jordan’s popular Mandolin Rose CD project, as well as The Wells Family album On Destiny’s Road are two recent recording projects on which Jan has participated

In 1988 he led a small group of international members of the IBMA as chairperson of the first IBMA International Seminar.

For a number of years Jan has suffered from heart-related problems, beginning with a massive heart attack at the young age of 36. In 1999 he underwent triple bypass surgery and in 2005 he had a pacemaker installed.

The Fred G. Bond Park is located at 801 High House Road in Cary. From the SW Cary Parkway, take a right onto High House Rd. (or from the NW Cary Parkway, take a left onto High House Road) and the Park entrance is about π mile on the right.

For anyone who can’t attend the benefit in person and is interested in making a donation can do so using the address below:

Circle of Friends for Jan
c/o Carla Osborne
P.O. Box 13002
Raleigh, NC 27605-3002

Samples of Johansson’s music can be enjoyed on his MySpace page.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.

A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.

He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.