Two banjo players honored at Uncle Dave Macon Days

This July at the Uncle Dave Macon Days festival in Murphreesboro, TN, two fabulous banjo players will receive awards for their lifetime contributions to the instrument.

Macon, of course, was the legendary entertainer who used frailing banjo to accompany himself during his hey day in the 1920s and ’30s. He is widely regarded as responsible for re-popularizing the old time banjo style through his regular performances on the Grand Ole Opry.

This 35th festival will once again bring together lovers of banjo, old time music, folk dancing and just plain fun, along with presentation of their annual Trailblazer and Heritage Awards.

The Heritage Award, which according to the organization, “recognizes an individual who has spent a lifetime perpetuating and preserving old-time music,” will be presented in 2012 to Mike Snider. This honor has been awarded each year since 1980, with prior recipients including icons like Roy Acuff, John Hartford, Grandpa Jones, Bill Monroe and Rhonda Vincent.

The newer Trailblazer Award this year is going to J.D. Crowe, who all fans of the banjo can easily recognize for the trails he’s blazed. Had he only remained a notable sideman through his career, as he had been with Jimmy Martin, Crowe’s powerful, bluesy style would have surely earned him recognition. Add in his contributions as a bandleader – who brought such stellar talents as Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley and Jerry Douglas to the fore – and the term trailblazer looks all the more appropriate.

In being informed of this tribute, Crowe said:

“I’m so honored to be a part of this year’s Uncle Dave Macon Days celebration and even more honored to be the recipient of the 2012 Trailblazer Award. When you think of what an important music trailblazer Uncle Dave Macon was, this award means even more to me.”

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2012 will be held July 13-15. You can find all the details online.

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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.

  • Jon Weisberger

    Not to be picky – who, me? – but Uncle Dave (with whom I share a birthday) used several finger-picking techniques in addition to frailing; he was quite an accomplished and multi-dimensional player.