George Buckner is a fourth-generation banjo player, and a native of Buncombe County. His father, grandfather, aunt, and uncles all played oldtime music. Nurturing his musical inclinations, George’s aunt Sue, who played and sang, took him to jam sessions and festivals, where he met and learned from Ralph Lewis, Carroll Best, and many other great musicians. In ninth grade, George and some friends formed a band. “We didn’t have a name,” he remembers, “but we opened for Bill Monroe when he played in Weaverville. And he asked us what our name was, and when we told him we didn’t have one he suggested Tar Heel Bluegrass Boys, since we were from North Carolina. We went on to win first place at Fiddlers Grove. Doc Watson was there, and he stood up and was cheering us! This was a great memory.”
Brooke Windsor Buckner too was surrounded by music during her childhood. “While growing up in rural Madison and Buncombe counties, I sang at church—in the choir, solo, or in a trio. Here I learned mountain harmony and gospel. We lived out in the country, and our social circles consisted of family and church. Music was a big part of these gatherings.” Brooke also was part of a clogging team at her school. As a teenager, she moved into town with her family, and for a few years she stopped singing and clogging. At the age of eighteen, though, she joined the Green Grass Cloggers, and her interest in traditional mountain music had a renaissance. She formed musical friendships with and learned from Roger Howell, Dellie Norton, Doug and Jack Wallin, David Holt, and her future husband, George Buckner. She also was inspired in storytelling by Barbara Freeman, in dancing by Phil Jamison, and in songwriting by John Lilly.
Now teamed up both in music and in life, George and Brooke have performed extensively as a duet. They have played together at Shindig on the Green, the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, the Lake Eden Arts Festival, the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival, and dozens of other events. Additionally, Brooke has performed at Merlefest, and George has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and won first place in banjo at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival.
The Buckners live in Weaverville with their four young daughters, Windsor, Kelsey, CarlyMae, and Lily Dale.
Performance: George and Brooke Buckner are available for concerts, workshops, and festival appearances.