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Guest of Honor Index

Guests of Honor

George Gibson

George R. Gibson   

George Gibson was born in Knott County Kentucky on Little Carr Creek, which is near the headwaters of the Kentucky, Big Sandy, and Cumberland River systems.  His parents, Mal and Letitia Hammons Gibson, had a grocery store and mill on Burgeys Creek at the confluence of Big Doubles, Little Doubles and Buffalo Creeks. It was from his father and a few neighbors that he learned an older east Kentucky style of banjo. This style features different tunings, singing with the banjo and the use of the left hand to add fill notes. George’s grandfather, George W. Gibson, was playing banjo in Knott County by the 1890s. A relative, Dan Gibson, was an original source, ca. 1915, for the banjo songs Ellen Smith, Groundhog and Rocky Island collected by Dr. Josiah H. Combs for Folk Songs of the Southern United States, published in 1925.  

George left Knott County in the 1960s but continued playing the banjo as a way of holding on to his past. He was very conscious that the banjo music and old songs of Burgeys Creek were disappearing. George now lives in Florida. He collects banjos and is a serious banjo scholar. His published articles include The Banjo in Appalachia and Gourd Banjos: From Africa to the Appalachians. In addition to being our Guest of Honor in 1994, George has performed impromptu showcases at FOTMC on several other occasions.


Last Possum up the Tree
JA0079 D
June Appal Recordings

Banjer Days
JA 0077 D
June Appal Recordings
A banjo anthology



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