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If you've never heard Will Keys music, you owe it to yourself to get one (or more) of his CD's. You won't regret it
Will Keys passed away peacefully in his sleep on November 4, 2005. Will was
considered to be one of the best oldtime banjo pickers in the country. The
National Council for the Traditional Arts included him in its Masters of the
Banjo tours in 1993, and the National Endowment for the Arts honored him with a
National Heritage Fellowship in 1996. Will had a two-finger style that was
unique. According to his website ... it was more melodic than clawhammer style,
but much less "technical" than three-finger bluegrass picking.
Will was born and raised in the hills of East Tennessee, growing up in the Blackley Creek community of Washington County. His trademark was the derby hat he always wore when he performed. His brother, Jay, is reported to have strung an old banjo from a screen door and gave it to Will to learn to play. Will Keys is gone but will be remembered through his music.
Will with his Dogwood strap minus his signature derby hat but he is wearing a mighty fine Tennessee Titans cap.
Will's style A Paramount plectrum banjo. He put the fifth string peg in the plectrum neck and played it for many years. His Dogwood strap features dogwood blossoms tooled into it. A fitting design for a mountain man.