Tony Ellis at the Kennedy Center

Noted banjo stylist Tony Ellis is the featured performer tonight (6/22) on the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage in Washington, DC.

Ellis is a former Blue Grass Boy, and an alumnus of Mac Wiseman’s band, working with both of these bluegrass legends in the early 1960s. Since that time, he has developed a unique voice on the five string, deftly merging three finger picking with the sounds of old time mountain music. His own original instrumentals are quite popular among banjo players, especially since the publication of his tab transcription book, The Banjo Music of Tony Ellis.

Here’s a great overview of his style, taken from Our Ohio, a popular program on Ohio public television, originally broadcast in 2009.

For those of you within easy access to DC, the Kennedy Center program is a free show, and the rest of us can watch a live video stream online, starting at 6:00 p.m. (EDT) this evening.

Tony will also be on the cover of the July issue of Banjo NewsLetter, complete with an interview conducted by Steve Martin, who declares himself a long-time fan of Ellis’ music. Look for that in your mailbox and on newsstands next week.

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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.