A resident of Buncombe County since 2000, Adam Tanner is a well known performer and recording artist in a variety of traditional acoustic styles. In his work with the Crooked Jades, the Hunger Mountain Boys, Frank Lee, the Twilite Broadcasters, and solo, Tanner’s music spans the genres of traditional Appalachian and progressive string band music, early bluegrass, and pre-War blues.
Tanner was born in New York, and raised in Northern California. He began to play music as a child, taking Suzuki violin lessons, and learning guitar from his older brother. In high school, he began listening closely to bluegrass and old-time music, and learning to play the fiddle and mandolin. From the early ’80s to the early ’90s, Tanner played with the electronic/rock fusion band Grotus, of which he was a founding member. Grotus recorded on the London/Polygram label, and toured internationally.
When Grotus disbanded, Tanner returned to playing traditional Appalachian music. Moving to North Carolina, he was better able to study directly with elder musicians in the tradition. He has had the opportunity to learn music from Tennessee fiddler Charlie Acuff, Kentucky fiddler Clyde Davenport, and Piedmont North Carolina fiddler Joe Thompson. In Tanner’s fiddling it is evident that he has listened closely to a wide variety of Southern styles, including those of the North Carolina/Tennessee border regions, becoming fluent in the tunes and phrasing that make each region’s music unique.
In 2009, Adam Tanner co-founded duo the Twilite Broadcasters with Asheville resident Mark Jackson. Tanner and Jackson played string band music both from the old-time repertoire and the early bluegrass canon, featuring close duet singing and Tanner’s solid mandolin playing. The band lasted for several years, playing throughout Western North Carolina and beyond.
Adam Tanner is available to perform solo. He also offers lessons and workshops in fiddle and mandolin.