Mary Z. sings succinctly and poignantly of having no use for banjos or their players, nor fiddles, guitars and mandolins — because they only play sad songs. This ironic tune is one of 15 original and traditional songs on this accomplished musician’s latest CD, “Carolina Banjo.”
She’s joined on the album by other skillful western North Carolina musicians, specifically NC champion fiddler Tim Gardner (guitar and fiddle), Darren Nicholson (mandolin and guitar) and Cindy Neale Carpenter (vocal harmony). Other notable tracks include “Foggy Mountain Clawhammer,” “Hangmen’s Reel,” “Red Rocking Chair” and “Elk River Blues.”
Mary Z. took up the banjo when she was 12, inspired by her maternal granddad’s deft playing. Since then, this NC banjo champion has recorded 11 CDs, authored instructional books and taught clawhammer banjo, as well as dulcimer, at regional and national camps and festivals. Based in Cashiers and Tallahassee, Florida, respectively, some folks also know Mary Z. for her “Good Morning Banjo” videos on Facebook and YouTube, where she posts impromptu videos from unexpected places.