2017 Bio / Mary Z Cox
What happens when 2 time Florida & North Carolina banjo champion, Mary Z Cox & Champion North Carolina fiddler ,Tim Gardner, get together in October in the Carolina mountains and record ? Mary Z's 10th recording, "Good Morning Banjo" ! And there's a new "Good Morning Banjo Tab" for 2017 too.
Besides the new CD & book, Mary Z was again selected for 2017 Banjo Babes Calendar & CD compilation.
This year and last have been fine picking years for Mary Z--getting a chance to meet and play with so many talented banjoists and fiddlers and having a chance to record with many of them in recordings or videos.
Plus it's Mary Z's 2nd semester playing Celtic tunes with the FSU Irish Music ensemble. (2016-2017)
Many folks know Mary Z for her “Good Morning Banjo” videos on FaceBook & Youtube where she posts impromtu banjo & dulcimer videos from unexpected places in the United States and around the globe. (Abby Road, Shanghai Ferry, Mongolian Dining Car on the TransSiberian Railway, Chicago, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Western North Carolina, Florida, New York, French Broad River, Suwannee River, Florida Folk Festival & there is going to be many more coming this summer in Western locations and Montana.
Mary Z. Cox, is a third generation Floridian originally from Brevard County where her paternal grandparents were early settlers of the Indian River Colony. Her maternal granddad, a professional banjoist from St. Joe Missouri, inspired her early interest in the banjo.
Her video interview in Smithsonian Folkways’ “Conversations With Old Time Performers”/ volume II (2015) is the only interview in the series featuring Old Florida music culture and photos as well as many of Mary Z’s unique banjos.
Craig Evans, videographer and interviewer for the DVD series, says she was included in this historical project because of her prolific recordings and instruction books & energetic hands on instruction, which have helped thousands of folks around the world, become better banjoists and musicians.
Recently Mary Z performed with her banjos at Banjo Fun Days in Pennsylvania, in Staunton, Virginia with Cutch Tuttle, St. Peter's By the Lake in Lake Norman, NC, Blue Tavern in Tallahassee, Tallahassee Music Week, Florida Folk Festival, Monticello Opera House, Southern Music Rising Festival, Wild Azalea Festival, Cracker Coffee House, Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack, Skyline Motor Lounge, Miccosukee Root Cellar, New Posh, Songcatcher Series in the NC Cradle of Forestry, Cashiers NC Library, Southern Comfort Records, &. the Phoenix.
Mary Z also brought North American claw hammer banjo tunes (2015) in mini cultural concerts to the Osaka ferry terminal, Shanghai ferry, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Mongolian Dining Car on the Tran Siberian Railway, the club car coming into Vancouver, BC, in Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, on the corner of Abby Road in London & on deck on the Queen Mary II in the harbor with the Statue of Liberty.
Her music has been played on National Public Radio’s, “Thistle & Shamrock”, “All Songs Considered,” Pandora World Music Genome, & the BBC.
Tunes from “Girl With the Banjo Tattoo”, “A Secret Life Of Banjo”, & “Vintage Banjo” were selected to soundtrack a Canadian documentary on immigration.
Tunes from “Florida Banjo” will be in an upcoming soundtrack on a film about Florida Cowboys.
Mary Z’s version of the traditional song, “Sally In the Garden” appears in the soundtrack of a film on the Canadian Gold Rush.
For 2017, Mary Z. Cox CD’s are being loaded digitally on the Bandcamp.com site and will continue to be uploaded for new tech digital flexibility. The Bandcamp site offers high quality digital formats & a streaming app that works great with Bluetooth, as well as traditional MP3s.
Mary Z has taught clawhammer banjo for over a decade at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina as well banjo workshops at the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, NC, Florida Folk Festival, Banjo Fun Days in PA, Wood N” Strings in Tenn., the Lagniappe Dulcimer Fete, Suwannee Banjo Camp, Sunshine State Music Camp, Will McLean Festival, Florida Old Time Banjo Camp, and in Charlotte, NC, Brevard, NC, Charleston, SC, Albuquerque, NM, & Pasadena, CA.
Mary Z is also a Florida mountain dulcimer champion, as well as a four-time champion (2011, 2009, 2007, & 2006) at the Transylvania (NC) Old Time Music Competition, and first place winner at the 2006 Uncle Dave Macon Days in Tennessee.
She has taught mountain dulcimer workshops at the Lagniappe dulcimer Fete, Suwannee Dulcimer Retreat, Fall NGFDA Festival at Unicoi, Florida Folk Festival, the Will McLean Festival and in Charlotte, NC, Denver, NC & Charleston SC. Her dulcimer articles, tabs, & mp3s have been published in the Dulcimer Player News.
“Easy String Band Method For the Mountain Dulcimer” (instructional book/cd) sells to dulcimer students worldwide and is available on Mary Z’s website: maryzcox.com
Mary Z. shares her home with 14 banjos, 3 guitars, 2 ukuleles, 8 mountain dulcimers, Elvis the basset hound, & one growling old man. Her motto is:
“If you suspect you need a new banjo or any fine acoustic instrument at all—you do. Trust your musical instincts. If an instrument calls to you to buy it, don’t fight destiny. It was meant to be.”