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Playing Since: 1972
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

[Teaching] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Cabinet/ Banjo Maker

Gender: Male
Age: 70

My Instruments:
Guitar, Harmonica, Banjo, Fiddle

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Wade Ward, Oscar Wright, Glen Smith, Tommy Jarrell, The Skillet Lickers

Classified Rating: (+1)
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 6/13/2012
Last Visit 10/10/2020

Mac Traynham of Floyd County Virginia has a long history of playing top quality old-time country music. He has performed in many venues both with his wife Jenny as well as with many other fine musicians from time to time. Since the 1970's he has become known as an multi-instrumentalist and vocalist to many who have become interested in listening to and dancing to old-time music. Growing up Mac was inspired by his father's harmonica playing of old folksong melodies. Mac's path to the world of 'old-time' mountain string music began when he got a deal on a banjo as a high school graduation gift. As Bluegrass music was accessible in central Virginia in the 70's, he naturally heard and learned the Scruggs style of banjo pickin at first. Eventually, after moving to Southwest Virginia he was 'converted' by his sensitivity to rhythm to learn and absorb the local old-time music. He was drawn to a style of clawhammer banjo influenced by the rhythms of traditional flatfoot dancers in the Blue Ridge region of Virginia. His main influences on his style of clawhammer banjo have been regional greats Wade Ward and Dent Wimmer. However, in the 70's and 80's he met and played with the still active 'old timers' of the region learning to match up to the melody line of old-time fiddle tunes while responding to the rhythms of the local flatfooters. Today Mac's clawhammer style is a unique blend of complex melody and prominent backbeat with subtle drones. He has been also mastering an old-time style of 3 finger picking to back-up certain types of songs. Known primarily for his hard driving clawhammer approach, he has won many ribbons in old-time banjo contest far and wide. Most notably he has been a finalist 5 times at the pretigious Appalachian Stringband festival held annually near Clifftop WV, having won first place 3 times and 2nd place twice. As a teacher, Mac has been a part of the staff of several well-known music camps such as Augusta Heritage Workshops, The Swanannoa Gathering, Mars Hill Blue Ridge OT Week and The Festival of American Fiddle tunes. He also has helped certain individuals who barter for lessons by working on his 42 acre Floyd County farm occasionally. He has appeared on several recordings over the years. His own CD released in 2005 on the Copper Creek label demonstrates the range of his abilities and has gotten rave reviews. Mac also is a maker of fine open-back banjos, specializing in short scale 12" pot featuring beautiful neck woods with matching rims. His banjos are know for their superior tone and ease of playing as one might expect.

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