Jeff is a multi-instrumentalist (mountain dulcimer, clawhammer banjo, guitar, autoharp, and string bass) who has been playing old-time music since 1980. Primarily a banjo player for many years, Jeff developed a rhythmic and melodic style of playing which has heavily influenced his dulcimer playing. He has an extensive repertoire of old-time fiddle music which crosses over to a strong interest in Celtic music. Jeff has performed individually, along with his wife, Janet, and with several old-time string bands at numerous fiddle festivals, public and private concerts, public schools, and dances across the United States. He has played on multiple recordings including music from Ireland, Scotland, the Appalachian Mountains, and American folk tunes.
Jeff has won numerous dulcimer competitions in North Carolina and Virginia. Most notably, he was Champion Mountain Dulcimer player at the Fiddler’s Grove Festival in Union Grove, NC numerous times, and he has also won awards on the mountain dulcimer at the prestigious Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Virginia. Jeff’s playing has been described as fluid and expressive, and, in his hands the mountain dulcimer becomes an instrument capable of creating a wide array of moods, emotions, and feelings.
Known as a gentle, entertaining, and effective teacher, Jeff’s versatility has enabled him to teach dulcimer workshops from beginner to advanced levels. Consistently rated as an outstanding teacher and performer, Jeff has been a popular instructor at workshops throughout the United States.
Jeff's first self-produced CD, entitled "Jory’s Ladder" is a collection of Traditional fiddle tunes and songs, beautiful Irish airs, and two original compositions for the mountain dulcimer. His second recording, "Prettiest Girl in the County" was released in November 2004. On this recording Jeff is again joined by the other three members of the music group Well Strung Wood. They combine mountain dulcimer, fiddle, cello, old-time banjo, and guitar to create a variety of musical moods and energy. "Prettiest Girl in the County" is a collection of traditional American, Old-Time, and Celtic fiddle tunes, waltzes, airs, and ballads dedicated to the spirit of women.
In 2008, Jeff and his wife, Janet, joined widely known Anne Lough and her husband, Rob, to release a CD entitled "Spirit of the Mountains." It is an instrumental collection of old Appalachian mountain tunes featuring mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, fiddle, old-time banjo, autoharp, and guitar. All tunes were recorded live without any double-tracks or overdubbing, giving the recording a real "front porch" mountain feel.
In May of 2010, Jeff and Janet released their first duet recording. "Heartfelt" is a collection of ballads, hymns, and lullabies delivered with the warmth and expression that audiences have come to expect from these music and life partners. Beautiful harmonies and moving vocals can be heard on 14 of the 15 tracks on this recording. The musical sensitivity, beauty, and honesty of "Heartfelt," have received critical acclaim. After the critical acclaim they received for their "Heartfelt" recording, Jeff and Janet released their second duo recording in October 2014. "Adam’s Delight!" is dedicated to their grandson and is a collection of lullabies, airs, and songs that capture the beautiful spirit of children. "Adam’s Delight!" features mountain dulcimers and fiddles and beautiful, as well as some beautiful vocals. Their musical expression and connection combine to make another highly regarded recording.
Over the years, Jeff and Janet have found that no music has a greater ability to stir emotion and enter the hearts of their audiences than beautiful Celtic melodies. So, after numerous requests, in June 2015 Jeff and Janet released “Celtic Jewels,” a collection of some of their most treasured Celtic tunes. Their timeless beauty, haunting melodies, and lush harmonies have been arranged to feature the mountain dulcimer and fiddle. And with the musical sensitivity and expression for which Jeff and Janet are widely known, “Celtic Jewels” is sure to carry you away to distant lands and moods, and touch your heart.
Please see the Products page for further information and samples of these recordings.
Other albums on which Jeff can be heard include "Dulcimer Jubilee" (by Lois Hornbostel…Jeff plays mountain dulcimer and old-time banjo), "Dulcimer Enchantment" (by Lois Hornbostel…Jeff plays guitar on several selections), “Grand Picnic” (by the group, Sweet August Hams…this is a collection of old-time tunes and Jeff plays clawhammer banjo and guitar), and “Old-Time Preserves” ( a duet recording with noted old-time fiddler Norm Boggs from Laurinburg, NC; Jeff plays old-time banjo, mountain dulcimer, guitar, and bass on this recording).
The greatest influences on Jeff’s dulcimer playing come from three "giants" of the dulcimer world. Lois Hornbostel introduced Jeff to the mountain dulcimer and through the years has provided musical inspiration and friendship. Neal Hellman, owner of Gourd Music, helped nurture a style and flair in his playing and arranging. And Mike Casey’s technical prowess, ornamentation, and Celtic interpretations helped in the cross-over between Old-time and Celtic music.
An additional influence that deserves mentioning is Ken Bloom from Pilot Mountain, NC. Jeff has been performing with Janet Furman (Jeff’s wife) and Ken the past few years in a variety of concert venues. Aside from an exposure to music from all over the world and all time periods, Ken has provided an understanding of the mechanics of music and instruments, and a spirit of stretching oneself musically. He has also provided several custom-designed dulcimers and a banjo!
Jeff also appreciates and thanks the many musicians and friends he has had the pleasure of playing with and who have shared many tunes and tips they have shared with him through the years.
When he is not making music, Jeff is a family physician in private practice in Chapel Hill, NC.
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