This is 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. Cox has played banjo since she was 12 and has been a recording artist since 1999. She’s recorded 10 CDs, plays concerts & festivals, gives workshops, and authors banjo books. Her music’s been played on National Public Radio’s, “Thistle & Shamrock”, “All Songs Considered,” Pandora World Music Genome, & the BBC. She’s taught claw hammer banjo for over a decade at the John C. Campbell Folk School as well as camps & festivals nationwide, including the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, NC, Cal Tech, & the Florida Folk Festival.
Mary Z is a third generation Floridian originally from Brevard County where her paternal grandparents were early settlers of the Indian River Colony. Her maternal granddad, also a professional banjoist, 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.
Her photo and banjo music is also featured in Banjo Babes 2016 & 2017 Calendar/ CD compilation.
Good Morning Banjo is Mary Z’s 10th CD recorded in Tim’s Coyote Ridge studio in Mills River and its full of clawhammer banjo & fiddle & much more.
"Tim Gardner is an award-winning fiddler, multi-instrumentalist, banjo builder, and recording artist/engineer from the mountains of NC. He grew up in a musical family and is well-versed in a variety of styles including old-time, bluegrass, Celtic, and swing music. Tim is currently fiddling with the bluegrass band Unspoken Tradition and has performed extensively throughout the Southeast at venues such as MerleFest, IBMA Bluegrass Ramble, Suwannee Springfest & Magnoliafest, and many others. His music and craft has been featured on UNC TV, Sirius XM's Bluegrass Junction, WDVX Blue Plate Special, and several other documentaries and radio shows. Tim can be seen performing around western North Carolina with a variety of musical acts."
Happy New Year--what a wonderful year 2016 was & now 2017 is a year that I'm so looking forward to ! First of all--there is going to be a brand new cd soon ! It's my 10th CD & IMHO its the best one I've ever recorded. Award winning fiddler, Tim Gardner, recorded it in his studio & I can't wait for you to hear his wonderful fiddling. Also--there's going to be some mountain dulcimer, vocals, guitar, bass & did I mention banjo and cello banjo ? And I will try to get in gear and get busy on some banjo tabs for a book too--lots of banjo on this new cd :)
Besides playing banjo and mountain dulcimer shows this year--I'll also be playing again in the FSU Irish Music Ensemble in the world music department. Mostly I'll play celtic guitar with them--but there will be banjo attacks too :)
Also--gonna be some forays into NC & Montana and who knows where else this year ? I'll send an email around soon to let you know the routes --if you'd like to host a house concert or workshops--let me know and anything is possible and fun :)
Florida Folks and friends--going to be playing the 2017 Florida Folk Festival in White Springs on Memorial Weekend in May--so hope to see you there--probably bringing that big fat cello banjo again :)
Here is my profile site for Concerts In Your Home. It has promo pix, short bio, mp3s & a sampler video all in one place.
Please take a look & contact me by email if you'd like to host me for a small concert or workshops. :)
Lots of Mountain Music Gone Coastal happening in live shows around here & I'll be posting a link to a Concerts In Your Home profile and booking website soon. Got a really nice solo show this year (folks who saw it last year are hiring me back this year) & there may be the option of having a duet show with two different, but very talented young guitarists & Yazid & I have put together a new and updated Drumming On the Edge Of Banjo show with even more African/Caribbean & drumming.
And--I'm adding a little mountain dulcimer back into my solo show with the banjos--due to popular request.
If you book me for a house concert --I'm happy to teach clawhammer banjo or mountain dulcimer workshops too :)
Ask me about booking a Mountain Music Gone Coastal show with me & Justin Lindley (hot instrumentals & bluegrass/folkgrass vocals) this Spring (Florida) Summer (North Carolina) or Fall. Our show would be great for small Folk or Bluegrass Festivals too. He's a doctoral student in classical guitar at FSU--so only available for some dates--but we do some really good & fun music :)
And ask about booking a duet show with Sugar Hill (me & Kyle Willard)-who is also a FSU music student, great guitarist & vocalist) This spring in North or Central Florida or South Georgia ?
Hope you and you’re loved ones have a happy holiday season of peace, joy, love and of course, wonderful music & a prosperous and fun new year ☺
2015 has been an exciting and fun banjo year for me ☺
• A new CD-my very first vocal-- Blue Sky Banjo & a new tab book to accompany it.
• Video interview in Craig Evan’s Smithsonian Folkways “Conversations With Old Time Performers Volume II” (humbled and honored to be the only native Floridian included in this 4 volume series)
• Pix, bio & music in 2016 Banjo Babes Calendar & CD (don’t be afraid to order this—it is very sweet with lots of pretty girls and banjos—but nobody is naked)
• Played many new venues this year & returning venues as a solo performer for the first time. (Thank you everyone who came out to hear me—its scary to play all by yourself—but looking out there and seeing smiling supportive faces makes it fun)
Thank you –thank you to everyone who has bought my cds, tab books, posters & calendars this year & thanks so much for all your kind words and sharing with me which tunes were your favorites. Your support and encouragement are one of my best rewards for hanging in there and continuing to learn new tunes and get them out there for folks to enjoy ☺
And thank you to all the folks who believed in me and booked me for concerts and gigs at your venues—I love you ☺
The Banjo Babes Calendar & CD came in yesterday and I have a few for sale and there is still time for them to mail before Christmas. They are big & beautiful (full color) and with the attached compilation cd—they make a wonderful holiday gift for your favorite banjo enthusiast (or for yourself to enjoy the whole year.) There is a link on my updated website to order them—but they are a limited edition and I only have a few copies left here at the house—so please order soon if you’d like one ☺
One of my projects this year is to load my cds on Bandcamp for your digital listening pleasure—so far I’ve loaded “Blue Sky Banjo”, “A Secret Life Of Banjo” & “Banjo Dreamin’ Suwannee Nights “ And I’ve loaded a bonus track of “Washington’s March” on fiddle (Tim Gardner) and Banjo (me) if you download Blue Sky Banjo.
Please take a look and listen
And a reminder that “Banjo Dreamin’ Suwannee Nights” is my only holidayish banjo cd & that I only have a few physical cd copies left (LOL—only 10 years in print and nearly sold out—haha)
Here’s a full streaming listen on Bandcamp.
The reason I’m going on Bandcamp is because of the newer streaming companies like Spotify and other like them. The fees you pay only go to the companies and not to the artists—we get about a penny per track on these. I saw on one where over 9,000 folks had downloaded Blue Sky Banjo for free the first week it was out---if they had only sent me a few dollars per download—I would be rich and ready to record a new cd ☺
The digital companies that pay me a good share are: iTunes, cdbaby, Amazon & bandcamp. Thank you for using these companies when you digital download ☺
Wow—this is getting really long—but have to say a few words about my trip around the world in Sept. /October. It was wonderful & my pix are still not organized—but I put up a lot of pix on Facebook as I was traveling (it was the easiest site to upload) & managed to tape a few short banjo videos along the way. I’ve set my Facebook page for public viewing—so you can go on and look at my photos and videos even if you are not listed as a friend. ☺
If you are interested in traveling to Vancouver, Tokyo, Koyosan, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Shanghai, Beijing, Mongolia, Siberia, Moscow, Warsaw, Budapest, Brussels, Bruges, or London—you may enjoy the pix and vids. Just email me if you have any questions ☺
Thanks again for all your support and encouragement in my banjo life. I greatly appreciate you each and everyone.
I did update my email list for the first time in a couple years because so many folks change emails often & found that over a hundred folks ordered cds & books directly from me on my website this year & some of you ordered more than once
And what I really loved and made me smile is that I recognized most of your names & that there were quite of few of you that have been supporting my music for over 10 years—and yes—even quite a few who have been ordering my cds since I first began over 16 years ago—thank you—thank you—your continued loyalty means a great deal to me ☺
Best wishes always,
Mary Z Cox
Ps.—Yes Bob & the kids are all still alive, well and kicking—although everyone is super busy—if you go to Facebook and look at my pix of Japan—you’ll see pix of Arcy and Satoko ☺
I'm both humbled and honored that Frailin Craig Evans made the trip to Tallahassee to video interview me for this fine series . Here's an impromtu jam we had that day--it was not really a part of the interview--but was too tempting not to play a couple tunes together since this is the only time we have actually met in real time :)
Yeeesss! Just when I was wondering where I'd get the funds for my next day of recording --a video company contacted me to use 3 tunes from Florida Banjo in a film they are shooting about Florida Cracker Cowboys. The company told me that they bought this cd last May at the Florida Folk Festival & loved the music. I'm so thankful that an older cd will help pay for the recording of the new one.
This is our first new track in 3 years ! Haunting version of Cold Frosty Morning on banjo, mandolin & guitar. Listen to the full streaming version for free on Bandcamp--and if you have a dollar--please download it for your listening library :) Thanks to everyone who has already downloaded it :)
I've entered the Old Time Banjo contest at the fall festival in Brevard, NC for several years--and although I've won many first places there in mountain dulcimer--the best I've ever done in that particular contest is 2nd place.
Well, this year--the contest was held on an outdoor stage in 35 degree weather--so I played "Snowdrop" and won first place. The prize this year was a check and a beautiful pottery coffee mug--no banjo prizes--but as always--had the pleasure of seeing and playing music with wonderful old and new friends while there.
Received a check from the Bank of Canada for several tunes that will be in the soundtrack of a movie on Canadian Immigration. :) Here are the tunes they chose & the cds we recorded them on.
Pretty Polly (Girl with The Banjo Tattoo)
- Chickens Growin At Midnight (Girl with The Banjo Tattoo)
- Swannanoa Tunnel (A Secret Life of Banjo)
- Wayfaring Stranger (A Secret Life of Banjo)
- Star Of The County Down (Girl with The Banjo Tattoo)
- Bonaparte's Retreat (Vintage Banjo)
- Sugar Hill (Vintage Banjo)
- Julia Delaney (Girl with The Banjo Tattoo)
- Andrew Jackson/Go Back Home (A Secret Life of Banjo)
- Sandy River Belles (Vintage Banjo)
I was pleased to see that they wanted a couple tunes from Vintage Banjo & Girl With the Banjo Tattoo as well as A Secret Life Of Banjo.
Lots of fun happening this year !
Still time to sign up at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC for my intermediate/advanced level clawhammer banjo class for the week of April 7, 2013 ! We are going to push to new levels and have a lot of fun doing it!
Extra fun--Jeff Sebens (the hammered dulcimer building instructor) is going to join me for the Tuesday morning morning song.
Have a Thursday night concert at the school--and I'm bringing some cool banjos for you to see and hear :)
We are having a little field trip to Ken & Virginia Miller's guitar studio on Wednesday Evening & banjo builders, Lo Gordon and Tim Gardner will be visiting Thursday afternoon to show their beautiful banjos, styles, and jamming with us on banjo and fiddle. :)
It's going to be a fun week!
Florida Folk Festival 2013 coming Memorial Day weekend--as soon as we know which stages and times we will be playing--we'll get them up on this web page calendar :)
Girl With the Banjo Tattoo (maryzcox.com). Mary Z. Cox is one of today's top clawhammer banjo players; this collection will dispel any doubt there may be about that. Fourteen traditional tunes include: Scarborough Fair, Morning Has Broken, Pretty Polly,Star of the County Down, and Chinkapin Hunting. Cox also plays guitar and dulcimer. Fans of clawhammer style banjo won‟t want to miss this one! (Mitch Finely)
September/October 2011 Inland Northwest Bluegrass Association Newsletter
Here's what the editor of BNL, Don Nitchie, has to say about "Girl With the Banjo Tattoo" after a first listen.
"Here's an old-time recording for you: "The Girl with the Banjo Tattoo" by Mary Z. Cox, consisting of 14 old-time tunes on eight different banjos in 10 different tunings! Stand-out cuts include Sweet Bama on a custom Chuck Lee paired with dulcimer; Last Chance on a cigar box banjo in fDFCD, and Chickens Crowin' at Midnight on a Bowlin fretless (dADF#A) paired with a banjolin. Just tunes, performed solo or duet, no singing, yet somehow a lot of variety. Good Stuff! "
- Hello and a very happy new year to friends and family,
- Drumming On the Edge of Banjo (our new cd) was played on NPR's Thistle and Shamrock twice in 2010, and accepted into Pandora's world music genome.
- John Bowlin's Groundhog Strut was included on efolkmusic's new compilation cd.
- Tamlin was included on a Dulcimer Players News cd compilation this year.
- Had musical genius students at the John C. Campbell clawhammer banjo workshop, and at the Violin Shop in Charlotte, NC.
- Had awesome dulcimer students at the Suwannee Dulcimer retreat and at the Violin Shop in Charlotte.
- Magical Carolina House concert in Charlotte and an awesome weekend with Jennifer Stanton.
- The 58th Florida Folk Festival
- Dulcimers In History at the Cashiers Library--another magical and unexpectedly packed event.
- The North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Association Fall Festival at Unicoi
- The Lagnaippe Dulcimer Fete in Port Allen, Lousiana
- An impromptu house concert on Manasota Key with visiting Hawaiins, Char and Michael.
- An evening of playing Afro/Caribbean drumming with Celtic clawhammer frailing fushion banjo at the Mockingbird Cafe with Yazid and Jim Crozier, packed with friends and family.
- The Cracker Coffee House at the Stephen Foster State Park.
- Lots of good feedback on "Easy String Band Method for the Mountain Dulcimer" Thanks for letting me know you like it.
- Bob gave me a beautiful Timber Hill mountain dulcimer for my birthday built by Paul Conrad.
- Ken Miller's "Little Star" guitar came to live at my home.
- New banjo centric cd coming soon. (it's almost half complete and hope to have it out early in the year.
- New banjo tab book with tabs from the upcoming cd and tabs for tunes on Drumming On the Edge of Banjo.
- Mark Sickman is ready with his Grand Canyon DVD--we have been watching the early release and it is wonderful. There is a lot of old time banjo soundtrack, and some really innovative singing and storytelling too.
- Heading west in October and wil be giving a concert and worshop in Albuquerque. If you are on the route to or from there or in or near Arcosanti in the beginning to middle of October and would be interested in hosting a house concert and/or banjo or mountain dulcimer workshop in your town--please contact me. :)
Hello Friends and family,
Hope it's cooler where you are than in Tallahassee in August. :)
Lots of fun happening with "Drumming On the Edge of Banjo." NPR's Thistle and Shamrock played a track from it in June and now they've sent me a questionaire for more information. Oasis just sent out the radio sampler of world music which included a track and we've been hearing from DJs across the country asking for more. :)
I have been working on a banjo tab book to go with it. We are leaving for Ecuador and the Galapados Islands in a few days and will be back by August 31st--so I will resume work on it then and hopefully will finish in the fall.
We are greatly looking forward to seeing everyone in Charlotte in September.
Thank you to everyone who has bought our new CD or download of it. We really appreciate your support and also all your kind words about the music. :)
Best wishes always,
We got a pleasant surprise yesterday. When I was driving home from the grocery store I heard a track from Mary’s latest CD playing on “Thistle and Shamrock” (a Celtic music program) on our local public radio station. They have posted the playlist but have not yet posted the podcast. http://www.thistleradio.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=44&Itemid=91
It is the June 17 program (number 1412). Mary’s track is in the middle of the list.