Sammy Shelor speaks

sammy_thWe had posted back in January about Bud Bennett, the Appalachian Music Specialist at Radford University’s McConnell Library, and his series of videos with banjo legend Butch Robins, who lives near Radford. Butch spoke at length about his life and music, and his time with Bill Monroe. It’s a valuable oral history of an important time in bluegrass.

Bud is also a banjo picker, and his archivist nature has led him to continue collecting these five string video bios. His latest offering is a two-part series with another Virginia banjo master, Sammy Shelor of Lonesome River Band.

Along with John Hildreth and Tom Snediker from Radford’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Bennett met in January 2014 with Sammy in the town of Floyd – about halfway between Radford and Shelor’s home on the mountain in adjoining Patrick County – and captured a couple hours of Sammy’s remembrances and experiences.

In the first installment, he talks about how he learned to play as a youngster, what a rich musical community he grew up in, and how he came to be a member of Lonesome River Band, and become an endorser for Huber Banjos.

The second video includes more discussion about the evolution of Lonesome River Band and his being named as recipient of the Steve Martin Award for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music in 2011.

Bud is determined to continue recording and preserving videos like these, and making sure they are freely assessable online for everyone to see in perpetuity. He’s working now on a video project with Sue Massek of Reel World String Band, and banjo virtuoso Jens Kruger.

Can’t wait!

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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.