2016 / Mary Z Cox
Two Time Florida & North Carolina Banjo Champion, Mary Z. Cox, is a third generation Floridian originally from Brevard County where her paternal grandparents were early settlers of the Indian River Catholic 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.
Mary Z’s photo, bio, and banjo track (from her newest cd, Blue Sky Banjo) is also featured in Banjo Babes 2016 Calendar & compilation CD this year.
Her newest offerings, Blue Sky Banjo & Blue Sky Banjo Tab Book (2015) offer traditional & modern vocals and instrumentals with fiddle, guitar, bass, ukulele & mandolin and of course the voices of many good banjos . Recorded @ Gatorbone Studios with Lis & Lon Williamson and in Coyote Ridge Studio with Tim Gardner, it was a year long journey into some fine music that we hope you will enjoy.
Both are available on her website:
Last year, Mary Z performed with her banjos in Florida at the: 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 Concert & in North Carolina at the 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 an upcoming 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 2016, 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, 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. shares her home with 16 banjos, 3 guitars, 2 ukuleles, 8 mountain dulcimers, 2 basset hounds & 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.”