Multi-instrumentalist Jamey Spratt plays bluegrass banjo with bands from Rutherford County where he grew up, continuing a family tradition of performing music.
Jamey’s parents were musicians, especially his father, who performed with local musicians Mike Dill and Phillip Ruppe. His father was also interested in bluegrass, and acquired a banjo through an instrument trade in the 1980s. In 1996, as a teenager, Jamey decided to dig the banjo out of the attic. “Before that time, I had always secretly loved my parents’ music,” Jamey says. “At the age of seventeen, I couldn’t fight off the desire to play that music any longer.” With the banjo and a copy of Earl Scruggs‘ banjo book, Jamey learned to play the bluegrass banjo style that developed in the region.
Jamey’s interest in bluegrass and mountain music inspired him to play several instruments. “About three years after learning banjo, I began to take an interest in the guitar and Dobro,” Jamey says. “Then about three years ago, I took an interest in fiddle and mandolin.” Jamey also plays a little bass. “It just kind of goes with the territory, although good bass playing is extremely difficult and is quite possibly the most difficult of all bluegrass playing to achieve.”
Over the years, Jamey has played with several local and regional groups. He played with the Fisher Family of Cullowhee, North Carolina, while in college at Western Carolina University. Jamey adds, “I also played with the Pirates of the Tuckaseegee of Sylva during that time, and I had a little band with some friends at school.” In Rutherford County, Jamey has played with the bluegrass band Harris Station and with the gospel group the Ambassadors. “I learned a lot about the importance of playing and singing from the heart, playing with the Ambassadors,” Jamey says.
Jamey has performed at many places around the region, from small rest homes and churches to the Ramsey Center at Western Carolina University, where the Pirates of the Tuckaseegee opened a show for Rascall Flatts. Most of his performing has been with bluegrass bands, but he also enjoys playing old-time music. “My father and I used to play some fiddle tunes together,” Jamey says, “But he’s the only person I’ve ever been able to do that with.” Jamey performs with the bluegrass group Bostic Yard, with fellow musicians from Rutherford County, including Gabe Kirkpatrick, Tyler Kirkpatrick, and James Henson.
Jamey is available for performances with his band, Bostic Yard. He enjoys giving private lessons, and is available to give classroom programs for students from the middle-school to college level.