John Bullard video from Bud Bennett

John BullardAs promised, classical banjoist John Bullard is featured in the latest installment of Bud Bennett’s Appalachian Music and Culture blog.

Bud works in the McConnell Library’s Archives and Special Collections Department at Radford University in Virginia. He is also a banjo player who has blended his passion for video with that of the five string to create a series of fascinating interviews with major figures in the banjo world. Previous episodes have included lengthy discussions with Sammy Shelor, Butch Robins, Tom Nechville, and Jens Kruger.

This time it’s John Bullard, a marvelous banjo player from the Richmond area who had dedicated himself to a pursuit of classical music on the banjo. In particular, his recordings of JS Bach are works of art, showing just how similar the banjo can be to the sound of the harpsichord, for which many of Bach’s pieces were written.

In the interview, John shares how he developed a passion for playing classical banjo after a chance encounter at the Galax festival many years ago. He has since released two albums of classical music and a pair of books on the subject for Mel Bay.

Most any banjo player, regardless of skill or experience level, should enjoy this interview. It’s available in two parts of roughly an hour each. Even if you simply enjoy the sound of the banjo, schedule a bit of time to take in Bullard’s approach to the instrument.

Here’s a six minute teaser Bud prepared from the full interview.


Find all of the interviews on Radford’s Vimeo channel.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.