John Goodson, 54, banjo-picker with the NC-based bluegrass Gospel group, The Gospel Plowboys, recognized by their motto “Pray before you play,” tight four-part harmonies, and attire of white shirts, red ties, and bib overalls, passed away on Tuesday, May 21. He had been battling non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.
Known lovingly as “the mayor of Woodleaf” in the small central NC community where he lived his entire life, Goodson was a hometown favorite with the locals. He worked a day job as a CNC (computer numerically controlled) operator.
Goodson began picking a banjo at age 12. A founding member of the Gospel Plowboys (that formed in August 2012), he previously performed with the band, Broke-N-Lonesome, for 8 years. Recently, he built a banjo for his wife.
“John Goodson was my best friend, like an older brother. He had a big heart and I and all the Plowboys will miss him,” Michael Jenkins, guitarist and lead singer with the Plowboys, reflected.
A statement from the band’s Facebook page reads, “On behalf of The Goodson family and The Plowboy Family, we would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. John passed away earlier today (Tuesday). We mourn for John here on earth, but we rejoice in knowing that he is home in Heaven. One day we will be reunited again. What A Day! Glorious Day! That will be!”
Mark Hodges, owner of The Gospel Plowboys’ label, Mountain Fever Records, also shared a few words.
“John was and will continue to be an important part of the Mountain Fever Family. He was a fine man, a good friend, a patriot, a man of great faith, and had a deep love for bluegrass music. He was an important part of the foundational sound of The Gospel Plowboys. Their project, Welcome Home, is one of our best performing projects that has touched many souls, and he is one of the reasons why. We hope he can carry his musical legacy on in his Heavenly Home. He will be missed.”
Goodson was preceded in death by another Gospel Plowboy, mandolinist, David Murph, who passed away on May 4, 2017. He leaves behind his wife, Sandra, and his sister, Suzanne.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday, May 28, 3:00 p.m., Trinity Baptist Church, Mocksville, NC. A jam session in his honor will be held following the ceremony. All musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and join in the musical tribute.