Bruce Greene grew up in New Jersey where he learned to play the guitar and banjo by listening to records. His love for southern Appalachian music inspired him to pursue college education in Kentucky. While there, he spent significant amounts of time with musicians throughout Kentucky, particularly old-time fiddlers. The fiddle became Bruce’s primary instrument, and today he is a well-known proponent of the music he learned in Kentucky.
Bruce moved to Yancey County in western North Carolina in 1978. He met Mitchell County fiddler Red Wilson, a North Carolina Folklife Heritage Award recipient, and spent a lot of time with him playing music. Bruce has a lot of respect for older traditional musicians and he takes time to learn their local styles and repertoires. Although he has been highly influenced by the musicians he has visited, Bruce has developed his own style, which features a bowing technique that is relaxed, but precise.
In addition to fiddling, Bruce also plays old-time banjo styles, guitar, and sings unaccompanied ballads both solo and with his partner, Loy McWhirter. Bruce is very knowledgeable about the traditional music history of the Blue Ridge and musicians from eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and western North Carolina. He has spent time visiting and living with older musicians from this region collecting tunes, ballads, and stories.
Bruce often performs locally with other old-time musicians in around Yancey County, including Rob Levin. They play a monthly square dance in the Celo community. Bruce also performs with master dulcimer player Don Pedi. With his partner, Bruce performs as a duet, playing tunes and singing ballads and other songs. Bruce teaches fiddle classes, and has taught for many years at festivals and gatherings such as Augusta, Swannanoa Gathering, Mars Hill College, and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. He performed at the North Carolina Museum of Art in a program that paired traditional music from western North Carolina with readings by author Charles Frazier from his book Cold Mountain.
Bruce is available for performances solo, as a duet with either dulcimer player Don Pedi, or singer Loy McWhirter, or with a full stringband for square dances.