Types of Artistry
Madison County, NC native
Jerry Adams is descended from many generations of residents of the Laurel section of Madison County. Though he describes himself in Blue Ridge Music Trails as being "not really from a family of musicians," meaning that his parents did not play, Adams is closely related by blood and marriage to many of the county's revered traditional musicians, including Lee Wallin and Sheila Kay Adams, both cousins. A pharmacist, Jerry Adams returned after college to his native Madison County, and now lives and plays in eastern Tennessee.
Adams is one of the few remaining masters of the distinctive, loping two-finger style of banjo playing once common in western North Carolina. He was initially inspired to pick up the banjo after hearing Lee Wallin play, and he learned the instrument from community and family members. Now having assumed the role of teacher himself, Jerry Adams counts among his students Madison County's young star musician Josh Goforth.
Jerry Adams has won numerous awards for his banjo playing, including high honors at Fiddler's Grove, and has played at many festivals and concerts in the region.