MP3 J. Samuel Vance - Banjo Crossing
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13 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Bluegrass, FOLK: Appalachian Folk
Show all album songs: Banjo Crossing Songs
J. Sam Vance began playing music in 1973 at age 12 when his father brought home a second hand banjo. By the time he graduated high school, Sam had cut his performing teeth on the contest circuit around the Middle Tennessee and at square dances, picking parlors, high school performances, and church functions. In 1982, his day job with TVA took him to Dayton, Tennessee, where by chance he discovered that Tom Morgan lived nearby and he soon visited Tom for some instrument work. That first visit spawned a friendship and interest from Tom, who asked Sam to sit in with Tomâs Morgan Family Band on a few local gigs. Tom soon invited Sam to join the group and, for the next few years, he played southeast Tennessee and regional events and toured regionally with the Morgan band. During this period, Sam helped record Benny Williamsâ Tribute to Bill Monroe project. A job layoff forced Sam back to college and he graduated from Tennessee Tech with a civil engineering degree in 1989. Music took a back seat in Samâs life for the next few years as he devoted considerable effort and energy toward his engineering career. His banjo spent many days and months in its case under the bed during this period, only to see daylight for an occasional gig, festival, or contest. An unexpected phone call came from Music City Bluegrass in late 2001, with an inquiry of interest in backfilling the void created by the retirement of Thayer Washer. Sam had since started a family but his wife Priscilla had been encouraging him to scrape the barnacles off the banjo strings and rekindle his musical fire. Such an invitation was just the mulligan Sam needed. Music City Bluegrass was formed in the early 1970âs and two original members were still in the group during Samâs one-year stint as lead singer and banjo player. The Music City band disbanded in late 2003. However, yet another surprise phone call came from out of the blue, this time from the talented Fast Forward band, a Nashville area super-group with over 25 band contest wins under its belt. Not much coercion was needed to join this group, which includes Ricky Reese on mandolin, Fred Duggin on guitar, and Johnny Bellar on bass and resophonic guitar. Sam has enjoyed sharing the stage with this band, and the contest win total is past 40. As of late 2007, however, the band is currently changing direction and focus from the contest circuit to regional festivals. (Note: between 2004 and 2007, Sam also played with the Memphis-based Tennessee Gentlemen headed up by the powerhouse, sky-high singer, Donny Catron.) Fast Forward recorded their first CD in 1996, Mule Skinner Blues, and is currently (late 2007) in the studio putting the finishing touches on their latest project with help from Jesse McReynolds.
Sam won numerous banjo contests in his early playing years and like riding a bike, his talent seemed to pick up where he left off when he reemerged on the music scene in 2002. Encouragement from Samâs fellow band members was his impetus to record the Banjo Crossing project in 2005. Sam is not an ardent worshipper of any single player or method but his own unique taste for blending almost all styles emerges in his playing. The selections on the Banjo Crossing project represent, he feels, a cross-over collection of breakdowns, fiddle tunes, swing music and a Broadway hit.
Sam is currently composing original tunes and hopes to start recording his second project in 2008.
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