Leo Duffy passes

The Duffy Brothers, Leo and RayLeo Duffy, one half of the English bluegrass duo, the Duffy Brothers, passed away on Saturday, 17 August from bowel cancer, which had only very recently been diagnosed.

The Duffy brothers, Leo (banjo) and Ray (guitar), mixed bluegrass music – with impeccable sibling harmonies as well as virtuoso instrumental abilities – with humor in a very fluid and thoroughly enjoyable show.

They became professional entertainers in 1978 after winning the Marlboro Country Music Talent show at the Wembley Festival of Country Music.

This led to a steady rise to stardom through the 1980s and 1990s. During the ’80s the brothers won most national awards available, culminating in five consecutive wins of the coveted Duo award by the International Country Music Association.

With appearances on most TV networks including guest spots on BBC 2 and BBC Radio 2, the Duffy Brothers were acknowledged to be at the forefront of bands who helped to popularize bluegrass music in Britain.

Share this:

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.

  • Terry McKenna

    It comes with a feeling of great sadness to learn of the passing of Leo. I have known the brothers since the 1970s (they lived in my home town for many years) & I have appeared on numerous shows with them. Both talented musicians & with their comedy routine, the Duffy Brothers were hugely popular in Britain & elsewhere – a fact proven when they toured as special guests on the Charley Pride Show some years ago.
    Leo (and the duo) will be very much missed.

    Terry McKenna