He grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and his father played many instruments, including the piano. With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian or Americana music and is rarely the lead instrument. Jeff Little is proof that there’s an exception to this rule.
“There was always a lot of musicians around when I was growing up like Doc Watson and Wayne Henderson,” Little said. “Even though I’m a piano player, I was influenced by acoustic guitar players.”
The Jeff Little Trio is the second performance in the 2019-2020 Lincoln County Concert Association’s series. The trio, consisting of Little, his son, Luke, and Steve Lewis, will perform on Sunday.
“We play a lot of traditional music,” Little said. “With the instrumentation of our group, we get to choose songs from any genre but it’s all acoustic. I play a lot of everything from fiddle tunes to country music to traditional blues to maybe even some traditional jazz.”
In 2014, Little was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame. In addition, he’s a full-time faculty member and Artist in Residence for the Popular Music Program at Catawba College in Salisbury.
Lewis is an award-winning guitar and banjo player from Todd and is one of the most respected acoustic musicians in the country. He’s well known for his flat picking on guitar and his mastery of the five-string banjo. Lewis has won many championships for his guitar and banjo playing including the Walnut Valley Nationals, Merlefest, the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention, Renofest and the Wayne Henderson Guitar Competition. He’s also a two-time national champion on the banjo. Lewis remains an in-demand guitar and banjo teacher and is dedicated to sharing his love of music with the next generation.
Luke Little began playing the mandolin when he was 15 and has won many competition ribbons, including first place at the 2018 Ashe Fiddlers Convention.
“We just try to be ourselves on stage and provide some really great music,” Little said. “We try to make the audience feel at home and try to play some great music. We’re pretty spontaneous. We don’t have the same set list every show. We’re looking forward to coming to Lincolnton.”
The Jeff Little Trio will perform this Sunday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. Adult membership to LCCA is $50, $15 for students, two-parent family, including all children under 18, $115 and one-parent family, $65. Membership includes all four concerts. That fee also covers all of the concerts of LCCA’s three reciprocal associations in Gastonia, Statesville and Albemarle. Membership to LCCA is not required to attend a concert, however, as tickets will be available at the door for $20 per ticket.